“Had it not been for blood donors, I would not have my daughter.”
Kathi Shamburg, mother of Addi Senreum, shared those words during a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday afternoon for an addition to Oklahoma Blood Institute Enid Donor Center, 301 E. Cherokee.
Board members of Northwest Oklahoma Blood Institute, the nonprofit that owns the donor center facility in Enid, and Oklahoma Blood Institute, the agency that operates it, were joined by contractors, donors and supporters Tuesday to break ground on a $1.4 million building addition and renovation project.
Shamburg said she was introduced to the work of OBI and its blood donors in 2014, when Addi was battling cancer. After several failed treatment plans, Shamburg said she reached a point of desperation — the point of “we’re running out of options.” By January 2015, Addi was referred for stem cell therapy and an aggressive treatment of five different types of chemotherapy in 10 days, at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.
One day, shortly before beginning what was seen as a last-ditch treatment, Addi asked her mom a difficult question. “My daughter looks at me, and says, ‘Mom, what if it doesn’t work?’” Shamburg said. Not wanting to lie to her daughter, all Shamburg could say was, “Addi, I choose to speak life.” The treatments were hard on Addi’s body, leaving her emaciated and with mouth sores so bad she could no longer speak.
Shamburg said Addi was kept alive through the process by blood and platelet donations. “It was during this time when I realized the importance of donating blood,” Shamburg said.
Addi is now 25 and married, living in Oklahoma City, and has been cancer-free for almost six years. Shamburg said her daughter loves ministry, recently preached her first sermon at her church, and hopes to start a family.
“The story didn’t stop when she became cancer-free,” Shamburg said. “The impact of the blood she received continues today… my girl wouldn’t be doing what she’s doing, and still moving mountains today, without all that you do here.”
Jessy Dershem, executive director of OBI Enid Donor Center, said donors’ generosity will enable Enid Donor Center to make more stories like Addi’s possible, building on the work that’s been done there since NWOBI was founded in 1977.
Enid Donor Center now serves 16 counties, 12 hospitals and four air ambulances, and last fiscal year collected a total of 32,241 blood products, between Enid Donor Center and its Blood Mobile and mobile blood drive operations.
“This addition to our building is going to continue to help us grow and serve Northwest Oklahoma better,” Dershem said.
A key element of that growth will be a new cell therapy room, enabling Enid Donor Center to extract blood products needed for the stem cell treatments that saved Addi’s life.
“This space will one day bring new innovation in cell therapy to our corner of the state,” Dershem said. “Our number one mission is to be the donor-to-patient lifeline for the patients we serve.”
Jessica Nelson, coordinator for the Blood Can’t Wait campaign, said the capital campaign for renovation of the existing building was boosted by a $150,000 donation from Oklahoma Blood Institute on Tuesday, but still needs to raise $400,000 to reach its goal.
Tax-deductible donations to the project capital campaign can be sent to OBI Enid Donor Center, 301 E. Cherokee, Enid, OK 73701. For information, call Nelson at (580) 747-3434, or email jessica@nelson cpm.com.
Any civic club, church or organization also can support OBI by hosting a blood drive. For information, call OBI Enid at (580) 233-9323.
Blood donors also can visit OBI.org or call (877) 340-8777 to schedule an appointment. Most people older than 15 and in good health can donate. The entire process takes about an hour.
Article by: James Neal – Enid News & Eagle