By Bonnie Westman with the Los Gatos Patch.
Since 2006, Linda Swenberg and Michelle Abene donate platelets at Stanford Blood Center, in addition to significant volunteer work in the community.
Why would someone voluntarily give up two and half hours of their time every few months to be pricked by a needle, have blood drawn from their body causing discomfort as platelets are spun out and then watch the vital fluid returned to their person?
Because the precious gift could save a person’s life, according to Los Gatos residents Linda Swenberg and Michelle Abene.
These sister friends have been donating platelets regularly at Stanford for several yearstheir contribution considered an important tool medical doctors have to help those undergoing treatment for serious health problems such as leukemia and cancer.
Swenberg has been donating since the late 1990s.
At first, she began her selfless act thinking that it was a good thing to do for others, while at the same time having a little bit of time off from her busy life at home with three young children.
Then a dear friend of hers was diagnosed with leukemia. The true importance of donating hit her hard when she found out that she was a match for her friend, so she started donating more often.
When Abene moved to Los Gatos in 2005, she didn’t know anyone. She met Swenberg and they quickly became good friends.
Soon after meeting, Swenberg asked Abene if she wanted to join her at Stanford. Abene said yes and they have been donation buddies ever since. After the procedure, the women often treat themselves to a nice lunch.
“Basically it takes a whole day by the time you drive up to Stanford, donate, have lunch and drive home, yet we have been doing it for years and enjoy the experience every time,” says Abene.
“I look forward to donating because it is time to relax, it is a very positive experience and the staff at Stanford takes good care of you,” says Swenberg.
While there, the women say they are surrounded by people who are doing good for others and feel special participating. Abene calls it a “reward for having a healthy life.”
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