We’re all in this together

  By Debbi Behrman

Nancy Houghton

Giving blood is one of the most personal things someone can do. And it’s something that American Red Cross blood donor and volunteer Nancy Houghton does as often as allowed. Nancy has donated blood for years, first as a Red Cross volunteer during the Vietnam war, and then again more recently when someone close to her needed blood.  

All blood donors at Red Cross blood centers receive a feedback form asking them why they chose to be a blood donor. Here is what Nancy wrote:  

“I know someone who has been getting blood transfusions. Somebody somewhere gave their blood to help him through that. I can do the same for somebody else. We’re all in this together. So simple, so easy, and so important to someone somewhere. It could be you or your loved ones. It made such a difference in his well-being.” 

Nancy’s poignant response prompted the public affairs team to reach out and learn more. 

And it turns out that Nancy is no stranger to the Red Cross. After a hiatus of several years, Nancy re-joined as a volunteer during the COVID-19 pandemic when she became a Board Member for the Heart of the Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross. Involved in Community Hospice over the past ten years, she realized the importance of the interaction of organizations that serve local communities and counties in the Central Valley. In her role on the Board, Nancy works to connect the Red Cross and Community Hospice, bridge relationships between the Red Cross and the military community, and network on behalf of these organizations.  

“Everything is all interconnected,” Nancy explained; “the American Red Cross is such an integral part of so many aspects of our lives and our well-being. We’re all in this together.” 

The impetus for Nancy’s most recent donation was someone dear to her who needed a transfusion to rebuild their blood supply. “I asked about donating to a particular patient but decided to just give it where needed most.” In addition to donating whole blood, Nancy has donated Power Red, a concentrated donation of red blood cells usually used for trauma patients.  

“The fact that the Red Cross tells you where your blood ends up is great,” Nancy explained. “My last donation went to Harbor General Hospital in Orange County, California. Knowing where it went gave me more of the feeling that I’ve done something and someone actually benefited from it. It makes it more personal.”  

Nancy summed it up: “I hope everyone has a chance to give blood, because we’re all in this together!” 

Debbi Behrman is a public affairs volunteer with the North Bay Chapter of the American Red Cross.