Nathan Cattell is an active and curious toddler. With a big grin, he’s eager to explore the space between gravel and mud on recent afternoons in Fanwood. It’s a moment when most moms would be quick to reroute a dirt-bound child- but Casey Cattell, of Somerset, goes about it with a gentle and encouraging grasp of hand. Even in these smallest moments, she’s overwhelmed by the fact that she’s alive and able to guide her son thanks to the generosity of blood donors.
On Saturday, May 13th, Cattell is hosting her first “Mother’s Day Blood Drive” in order to raise awareness of maternal health issues- specifically postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). After a complicated pregnancy and one week after delivering Nathan, Cattell endured stage 3 PPH in the fall of 2015. As doctors at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick rushed to save her life, the ultimate antidote came from volunteer blood donors.
“I used to think catastrophic things happened to other people, but it turns out that they happen to ordinary people like you and me, usually when we least expect it,” said Cattell.
As soon as she was well enough to give, she was excited to donate blood at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset in Somerville. But that wasn’t enough. She’s using her experience to create an understanding of the complications that arise during and after pregnancy and to encourage more people to give life-saving blood.
The drive will take place on Saturday, May 13th from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. at Terrill Road Bible Chapel located at 535 Terrill Road in Fanwood. All blood collected will benefit patients at RWJUH Somerset. In addition to food and beverages, Cattell is offering donors to win one of several gift baskets which include products from Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Johnson & Johnson, Plexus, Young Living, LulaRoe, and L’Occitane. To register call 908-873-6161, email email@example.com or go to www.rwjuhdonorclub.org.
“Donating blood is easy, efficient and makes an important impact,” said RWJUH Blood Services supervisor Christia Keyte, “To give blood, you must be at least 17 (16 with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds, feel well on the day of donation, be well hydrated and bring photo ID.”
Above all, Cattell wants to grow the number of local blood donors to combat ongoing shortages. She knows first-hand that donated blood brings patient’s back from “the razor’s edge.” The drive is motivated by gratitude and she hopes to collect several dozen units.
“I want [the blood donors] to know that a little family is alive and well, in part, because of them,” said Cattell, “The people who took the time to give a portion of themselves by donating blood, platelets and cells played an important role in saving my life that day and the ones that followed- they gave me so much more than blood…they gave us a fighting chance to be a family again.”
Aside from dedicating herself to raising awareness of pre-and-post-partum health issues and blood donation, she’s chasing a happy and secure little boy. Nathan’s mom is right behind him today and for many years to come thanks to neighbors who rolled up their sleeves.
First-time and returning donors who have questions about whether health conditions, medications and travel would preclude them from donating should call Blood Services at 908-685-2926.