(DOUG JESSOP’S UTAH CARING STORIES – ABC4 NEWS – SALT LAKE CITY, UT) Have you ever wondered where your blood goes after you donate?

As I rolled up my sleeve to donate blood at ARUP Blood Services, their spokesperson, Lance Bandley told me; “Every single day there’s 12 to 18 kids at Primary Children’s waiting for blood. At University and Huntsman there’s another 40 to 50 patients every single day that need blood.”

It was time to follow the blood and drive up to Primary Children’s Hospital. Anne Harvey is Pediatric Nurse there. She told me about one of the kids their waiting for blood; “He has a condition called beta thalassemia. For someone Garrett’s size, we need at least 2 people every single month for his whole entire life to donate.

Meet Garrett Thorell and his Mom, Rachel.

Garrett told me simply; “Every 3 to 4 weeks I get up and go up to the hospital and see the doctors and stuff they are waiting for the blood to come and they hook me up.”

His Mom was a bit more emotional. “Every 3 to 4 weeks if somebody doesn’t give blood, my son wouldn’t be with us” she said through misty eyes.

It was my pleasure to be invited into Garrett’s home. He’s an active kid that did his best to teach this Old Doug and new trick…or in this case a new dance.

“Garrett- Take a stick. Break a stick. Doug- Oh break a stick like out hear. Garrett- Then throw it out. Grab another one. Doug-Grab another one. Garrett- and then do it with your other hip. Doug- like that? Garrett- yeah.”

Garrett loves to play soccer. We went into the backyard and shot the ball around.

Rachel continued telling me; “Every time I watch him play soccer, run with the little neighbor boys, and play games, I know he is alive because of the generosity of somebody.”

Do you have time to donate blood? Families like the Thorell’s sure hope so.

Rachel put it this way; “I don’t think people understand that huge correlation with donating truly equals life.”

Garret punctuated the point by telling me; “You should donate blood for other people. To help other people. So, they, can like, spend more time with their family. Doug: like you. Garrett- play more. Doug – Play more soccer? Spend more time with your sisters? Garrett- yeah. No!”

I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”

You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.

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A big shout out goes to my collaborator, Ed Wilets, who does a great job as my videographer/editor for all my stories. Your feedback is always welcome at DJessop@abc4.com

You can also see my positive business profiles called “Utah Success Stories” every Sunday in the ABC4 News at 10 p.m. or online at www.ABC4.com/Success

These stories deserve to be told. These are Utah Caring Stories. I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News.