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From The Heart

Mother, Daughter Make Pact To Donate Blood

Courtney Rapp, left, and her mother, Debbie, pose while donating blood April 23 at The Resource Center. Submitted photo

Debbie Rapp of Jamestown has donated more than a gallon of blood to the American Red Cross over the years. These days when she gives blood, the experience has a deeper meaning for Rapp and her family.

Several years ago Rapp’s mother, Louise Young, developed chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The illness required Young to undergo blood transfusions every few weeks. Rapp said her mother maintained a positive outlook about the treatments and would joke that she was “going in for a refill” when it was time for a transfusion.

“I’d ask if she needed anything, and she’d say, ‘I have a good book to read, so I’ll be OK. I’ll call you when I’m done,'” Rapp said. “Then she’d send me happy emojis on my cell phone while she received her transfusion and shared how thankful she was that this would make her feel better. She knew once she received this gift that she could breathe better and continue living another day.”

Young lost her battle with CLL last September. Following her death, Rapp and her daughter, Courtney, made a pledge to one another that they would donate blood in Young’s honor every time The Resource Center hosted a Red Cross blood drive. Both women work for The Resource Center, and as part of its commitment to give back to the community, the organization hosts several Red Cross blood drives each year.

For Rapp and her daughter, supporting the Red Cross is a tangible way they can express appreciation for the transfusions that extended Young’s life.

“My mom was the center of our family, and she is missed every day,” Rapp said. “My family was blessed that she had this option to receive transfusions to keep her well enough to spend a little more time with her family. Without these transfusions, we would not have had her on this earth with us as long as we did. My family was blessed by this gift of giving blood that helped my mom.”

Rapp and her daughter donated blood at The Resource Center’s most recent blood drive April 23. Those drives are coordinated by the Red Cross and by members of The Resource Center’s award-winning STARS employee wellness program. Rapp appreciates that TRC undertakes the effort to hold these events.

“The Resource Center STARS program does a fantastic job hosting the Red Cross blood drive. This event helps our local community and Chautauqua County,” Rapp said. “The TRC blood drive is a perfect example on how we try to support our community. Not only do TRC employees donate blood, but they open this up to our community to come to our main office on Dunham Avenue to donate, too. Supporting people is really what The Resource Center is all about, and this includes the Red Cross.”

The April 23 event collected 34 units of blood, enough to potentially save the lives of 100 people. The Resource Center’s next blood drive will take place in the fall, with Rapp and her daughter planning to roll up their sleeves to give the gift of life in Young’s memory.

Rapp is grateful to all who donate blood, as she knows from personal experience how blood donations make a positive impact.

“I would like to give a heartfelt thank-you to each person that donates their blood. You really do touch so many lives that we all cherish.”

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