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The perfect answer to: Why give blood?

Lake Oswego's Pam Beall cherishes donors who helped her during illness


by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Going through leukemia helped Lake Oswegos Pam Beall attain a whole new appreciation of people who donate blood.Pam Beall was a blood giver, but not an enthusiastic one.

She had a very full life and giving blood was not easy.

“Giving blood was not a priority on my list,” said the longtime Lake Oswego resident. “I had four kids. I wondered, ‘Will I have the time for this? Will it hurt?’ “

Beall was also the co-author of the long-running series of children’s books called “Wee Sing.” Yes, she had a very busy life.

But the time came in her life when she blessed every single person who gave blood.

The awareness began on one of the busiest weekends in her life in 2008. Her son was getting married that weekend, and Beall was in a flurry of preparing for her son’s upcoming marriage. But she felt lousy.

“I was so tired, and my son was getting married that weekend,” Beall said. “I thought I had the flu, so I called the pharmacy. But I couldn’t get what I needed without a doctor’s prescription. So I called my doctor’s office, and the nurse practitioner had an opening. I was so tired when I got there I had to lay down on the table.

“I don’t know why she took a blood sample, but thank heavens she did,” Beall said. “She made me an appointment with an oncologist on Monday.”

The diagnosis was that Beall had cancer. Specifically, acute monoblastic leukemia.

“That means my bone marrow was not producing enough red cells,” Beall said. “I needed a blood transfusion even before I went into OHSU. Eventually, I needed seven blood transfusions.

“While I was getting the blood, I thought, ‘This is giving me life.’ Something like this doesn’t really register until you go through it. Getting the blood got me to the point where I could go into OHSU and undergo intensive chemotherapy.”

Today, Beall is healthy, so healthy that she is on the verge of being completely cured instead of just being in remission. Thanks to a stem cell transplant from her sister, her blood type has gone from A Negative to O Positive. Entirely changing her blood was an extremely arduous process, and her gratitude toward donors kept growing.

Beall said, “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, if not for them I would not be alive.’ I cannot tell you how meaningful this is. When blood giving is personalized it has such greater value.”

Beall has her busy life back, and she is now planning another book for her series “Wee Sing.” But with Red Cross blood drives scheduled in Lake Oswego in the upcoming days, blood donation is now the primary thing on her mind. She is a big supporter of the blood drive set for Tuesday at River West Church since it is sponsored by the Bible study class of her close friend Donna Scales.

Soon, Beall will again be able to donate blood herself, and her attitude about it will be so much different.

“Giving blood really does save lives,” Beall said. “When I was getting blood I thought, ‘Thank you to the person who donated this blood.’”

Blood drive at River West Church on Tuesday

The American Red Cross will be coming to River West Church in Lake Oswego on Tuesday from 1 to 7 p.m.

Donors can register by going online at redcrossblood.org/pnw. The sponsor code is RiverWestLO. This blood drive is sponsored by church members, who will provide cookies and juice and volunteer at information tables.

River West Church is located at 2000 Country Club Drive.

Other upcoming blood drives scheduled in Lake Oswego include United Methodist Church, Beit Haverim congregation and Lake Oswego City Hall.



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