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Heather Kozak, Blood Recipient

“They didn’t just give me units of blood, they gave me my life. I owe them everything that I have and everything that I am, because their donation is priceless. They saved a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a pediatric nurse.”

Heather Kozak had no idea what was in store as she prepared for the birth of her first child. Although she unexpectedly needed a C-section, Heather and her husband, Mitchell, welcomed their healthy baby girl, Celina, into the world at Methodist Women’s Hospital on January 31, 2019.

Immediately, the doctors turned their attention to Heather. She had begun to hemorrhage, and her blood pressure had dropped dramatically. Before Heather was even able to hold her daughter, she was rushed to the emergency room.

Heather lost almost all of the blood in her body, and lost consciousness. She would have lost her life if it weren’t for her medical team, who resuscitated her and helped sustain her life with blood transfusions. Over the next 18 days, she remained hospitalized and received several additional transfusions. To this day, Heather credits volunteer blood donors for helping save her life and giving her the chance to be a mother to Celina as well as a wife, daughter, and friend.

Today, Heather has completely recovered. “If I could meet the donors of the blood I received I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart for saving my life, because that’s what they did,” Heather said. “It’s because of their blood that I’m alive today. It’s because of their blood that my daughter has a mom. It’s because of their blood that my husband was able to walk out of that hospital with both his wife and his child.”

“They didn’t just give me units of blood, they gave me my life. I owe them everything that I have and everything that I am, because their donation is priceless. They saved a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a pediatric nurse.”

To celebrate Celina’s first birthday, Heather and her family hosted a Donor Day on Saturday, February 1 at Nebraska Community Blood Bank’s Omaha donor center, located at 120th & Pacific. For Heather, it marked her first opportunity to give blood since her traumatic experience nearly a year ago. Volunteer blood donors helped ensure blood was available when Heather needed it most, and now she’s paying it forward.

“I absolutely urge anyone that can to donate blood, because you never know when you might be in the same position I was in. I was a 27-year old healthy woman. I was on my first pregnancy, and it had been uncomplicated from the beginning. I walked into the hospital that day with my husband excited to meet our daughter. We had all these ideas, all these plans, because we had no reason believe that my life would be in jeopardy. So, if you can donate please do, because it could be what saves your very own child, wife, sister, or friend.”

When you donate blood with Nebraska Community Blood Bank (NCBB), you’re giving hope to mothers like Heather in our community. In fact, nearly 100% of blood donated with NCBB is transfused to patients in Nebraska hospitals. Schedule your next life-saving donation online or call 1-877-486-9414.