Cleveland, MS
Four-Wheeler Accident Blood Recipient

“Once I realized I was given blood, I wanted automatically to give back blood”

Turning 16 years old signifies several milestones to most teenagers in Mississippi: getting their driver’s licenses and finding part time jobs to name two significant ones. For Natalie Russell of Cleveland, Mississippi, it also means she can now donate blood. Natalie knows firsthand what it means to need blood—she was in a four wheeler accident on October 19, 2004, and needed several units of blood, two of them while she was being air-lifted to University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson.

Natalie was first rushed to the Bolivar Medical Center where it was determined she was bleeding internally. Here liver was lacerated and she was rushed to UMMC to undergo surgery where she required more blood. When she learned she had received blood, she knew she wanted to give back to others who would need blood down the road.

Natalie said. To her, it was a no brainer. Someone donated blood and saved her life. She felt the need to do the same.

She was dismayed to learn that at that time the minimum age in Mississippi for donating blood was 17. She made a promise to herself to donate blood on her 17th birthday. When Mississippi House Bill 150, lowering the minimum age of blood donors to 16, was passed into law, Natalie knew she no longer had to wait.

The law will go into effect on July 1, 2009, and Natalie intends to be the first 16 year old in the state to roll up her sleeve and save a life.

“Before I had been telling all my 17 year old friends they needed to give blood. Now I tell my 16 year old friends: ‘You need to go give blood.’”

Turning 16 means different things to different people—driving a car, getting a job, looking forward to the final years of high school. To Natalie, it means she can join the ranks of life-savers whose donations made her 16th birthday possible. She knows her blood donations will make a difference for someone else.

MBS offers a “mini physical” before each donation to ensure the donation process is safe for the donor as well as the recipient.

Categories: Patient Stories