Janelle Nordine said she is blessed to be alive.
The Prescott woman survived a brain aneurysm and stroke 16 years ago. Today she said she is doing well and living her life to the fullest. Part of that is helping ensure others can live their lives, too.
The 64-year-old is a prolific blood donor. For the past few years, she said she has given blood around every eight weeks - as frequently as the rules allow.
“I had one of the phlebotomists tell me I’m his favorite patient ever,” Nordine said with a chuckle. “So that made me feel good.”
She is volunteering as a greeter during a two-day blood drive June 24-25 at Our Saviour’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hastings, hosted by Regina Auxiliary. Hours are 2-8 p.m. both days.
Someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds for things such as surgery, cancer treatment and traumatic injury, according to the American Red Cross. A single blood donation has the potential to save three lives.
The Red Cross says the summer months can lead to blood shortages as donations tend to decline, particularly around the Fourth of July holiday.
'It's a miracle'
Nordine, then 48 years old, said she was at church around Christmas time when the pain started.
"I got the most horrific headache," she recalled. "It was indescribable."
Her husband at the time asked if she wanted to go to the emergency room, but Nordine said she resisted the idea.
"Me being a stubborn German, I said, 'No, I think it's just a stomach flu,'" she said.
Then she passed out.
Nordine said doctors quickly determined she was experiencing a ruptured aneurysm. That's when a bulging blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain. She was airlifted to Mayo Clinic in Rochester where she also had a stroke.
She was in the hospital for a month, followed by months of therapy.
"I really feel like it's a miracle to even be here," Nordine said.
Tough as she is, Nordine said she has no problem giving blood. For those who may get nervous around needles, she had this to say:
"People are depending on your blood to live. So please give."
Details for area donation events and information about hosting a blood drive can be found at www.redcrossblood.org.