BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - When you donate blood to Our Lady of the Lake’s Blood Donor Services, you’re saving a life in your community, a life like Kourtney Peel, a Baton Rouge mother of two.
“To be able to still be here with my family and my children, it’s amazing. Just to be living and breathing is a blessing to me,” she said, choking back tears.
Peel, a former registered nurse, woke up one morning in July feeling ill, thinking she recognized the start of a stomach virus. The next morning, her family found her unresponsive.
“Turns out that I have a very rare blood disorder,” Peel said while revisiting her near-death experience from just months prior.
She received a blood transfusion, followed by 14 units of platelets every day during her two week stay at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. The blood products kept her alive.
“I was requiring so much blood. That was the main focus in just keeping me alive,” she said.
Peel was diagnosed with atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
“It’s a very rare blood disorder. Basically, my body had failed and my blood cells were breaking apart, clumping together, and it clogged up all my organs and it was shutting my body down and killing me very quickly,” she explained.
- Rare, chronic disease
- If uncontrolled, can cause blood clots in small blood vessels throughout the body
Peel says it happened fast and there were no signs or symptoms she had a disorder that could have taken her life. Just as swiftly as the illness took over her body, her family and friends stepped up to help keep her alive.
“To know that in a drop of a hat, when I needed the community, my friends and my family to be there for me, they were there," she said through tears while searching for the words to express her gratitude.
“It means so much. I have two small children and if people had not been so selfless, without that love and support from our community, I would not be alive to take care of my children and to be there and watch them grow up. It saved my life."
Peel continues to recover. She receives an infusion every two weeks at OLOL to treat her blood disorder. She recently had a surgery to receive a new port in the event she needs another transfusion.
“There will probably be other times that I will need transfusions and to know that our community is so wonderful in donating and giving themselves for other people really makes an impact and is really wonderful because I wouldn’t be here without it.”
You can help save lives in the Baton Rouge community by donating blood during WAFB’s Beat Bama Blood Drive.
Peel has a message for anyone still on the fence about donating.
CLICK HERE to see a complete list off locations during the Beat Bama Blood Drive.
All blood donated to OLOL stays in the state to help save the lives or your friends, neighbors, and community.