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Blood transfusions save a Montana woman



Great Falls, Montana – January marks National Blood Donor Month, and in light of the current national shortage, it’s critical to stress the value of donating blood in times of need.

Use Denise Burk as an illustration. She has spent the last ten years working at the US Bank in Great Falls and has volunteered her time on several boards and in the community.

She most recently became a member of the Red Cross Board after being moved by a personal experience.

Denise was given a breast cancer diagnosis in 2021. She started radiation and chemotherapy right away. Denise’s red blood cell count was extremely low when doctors discovered it in the middle of her therapy cycles.

“I did not do well with chemo, and I got very, very sick,” says Burk.

She quickly became anemic and contracted a dangerous case of pneumonia, endangering her life even more. Her life was saved by ten different blood transfusions.

“Had someone not been kind enough to help a stranger, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here,” says Burk. “The gratitude in my heart for those that have donated and helped me to continue to be the person I am, the mom, family, friends that I can be, that really is astounding to me.”

The current cold and flu season, along with the harsh winter weather, have made the national blood shortage worse.

“In January alone, we’ve lost about 15,000 units across the country because of blood drives canceled because of winter weather,” says Red Cross Regional Communications Director Matthew Ochsner.

One person is one unit, for context. There would be a shortage of blood from about 180,000 people at this rate. America’s Blood Centers estimate that one American needs a blood transfusion every two seconds.

While only comprising 26% of blood donors, it is crucial to reach out to first-time donors.

In all, 3% of Americans give blood, but if 1% more people in the country gave blood, the scarcity would be lessened and people like Denise wouldn’t have to go without it.

Make an appointment to donate blood by calling 800-733-2767 or visiting

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