Midstate father with leukemia encourages community to donate blood

Midstate father with leukemia encourages community to donate blood.

HUMMELSTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – The Pennsylvania Central Blood Bank needs blood donations. The blood bank says they are doing their best to try to meet the demand.

Donations can help in life-saving situations, such as tragic accidents, health crises, or even blood transfusions.

“I went to the ER on a Sunday afternoon and in three hours I needed blood,” said Cameron Bendgen.

Cameron Bendgen, a Middletown native husband and father, says that in September he became seriously ill with shortness of breath and lost 25 pounds. This is how you found out you have leukemia. Bendgen says that since September so far he has received eight blood transfusions.

“For me, these are fundamental to life, so if I don’t get these blood transfusions, my quality of life would be very bad,” Bendgen said.

Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank workers say donations have been low.

“We’ve had a serious decline in the number of people we see both in our blood drive and in our donor centers,” said Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank President and CEO Patrick Bradley.

The center serves 11 counties and partners with 24 hospitals and has a goal of having at least 250 donations a day.

However, reaching that goal is challenging when many organizations, churches, and schools are hesitant to organize blood drives due to the pandemic.

“If blood is not available, hospitals have to make very difficult decisions about how to treat their patients and whether they need to cancel surgeries or what else they might need to do to use the limited resources they have,” Bradley said.

“There could be a trauma like a car accident where people need units of blood and I can see the value of that because I still go to the hospital every other day to have my blood levels checked,” Bendgen said.

Bendgen continues to encourage the community to donate because a pint of blood can help 3 people at a time.

“He would really go out there and do that if he’s done it in the past, and he needs a boost and hasn’t thought about it. I challenge you and hope this is the boost you’ve been needing. ”Bendgen said.