MEDFORD, Ore. — The story of a woman who survived both cancer and the birth of her son thanks to 40 blood transfusions has inspired local fire stations to host a blood drive in her honor, according to the American Red Cross.
Hannah Gonterman is the daughter of a 35-year fire veteran. She was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia in February while 26 weeks pregnant.
Gonterman's diagnosis led to a stay at Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) that would last for more than two months. The cancer caused bleeding in her eyes, and she lost her vision. Gonterman would need 40 blood transfusions before she safely gave birth to her son, Jennson, according to the Red Cross.
“I had to have surgery to remove the blood clots in my eyes,” Gonterman recalls. “When I gave birth to my son, I couldn’t even see him for a week.”
Still partially blind in her right eye, Gonterman is grateful to those who donated the blood that helped her and her son survive.
“Technically, I was cured of the cancer with chemo while pregnant with my son,” she says. “I feel good. My hair is growing back. And thankfully none of it affected Jennson. Without blood donors, me and my son could’ve both died.”
After her treatment, Gonterman was given a 98 percent chance of no return of the disease.
Now a group of local fire stations have decided to host blood drives in Hannah's honor, the Red Cross reports—including Grants Pass Fire and Safety, Rogue River Fire, and Ashland Fire. The information about when the drives are being held and where to go may be found below:
Wednesday, Sept. 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Grants Pass Public Safety Building - 800 E Park St.
Tuesday, Sept. 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Ashland Fire Station #1 - 455 Siskiyou Blvd.
Monday, Sept. 17 from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Rogue River Fire Department - 5474 North River Rd.