A Second Chance At Life
In 1988, a young man at John Hatfield’s church was diagnosed with leukemia and receiving chemotherapy. The man was newly married with a baby on the way. He needed platelets, but his blood type was O-negative and John was a match. O-negative is considered a rare type and only 6.6% of the population has it. At the time, there happened to be five other people in John’s congregation who were O-neg. They all decided to give, a team connected in a unique way that gave their friend more time. Their donations allowed him to live long enough to see the birth of his first child. From then on, John has continued to give.
When John’s son turned five, open heart surgery was recommended. Reef was adopted from the Marshall Islands. He had a heart defect that had to be repaired. When John found out, he reunited with his team at church and they all donated blood on Reef’s behalf. Thankfully, the surgery was a success, and Reef received a good report at his last pediatric visit
“I believe it’s our responsibility to keep the blood supply flowing,” says John. “Blood isn’t something you can buy. It’s not a consumer product. It’s a lifeline that connects the community and sustains life. Without it, those in need will die.”
An unabashed supporter of platelet donation, John has given over 219 units of platelets and donates every two weeks. He’s committed to keeping the community blood supply strong, a passion he instills in his family. Recently, John enlisted his other son, Ocean, who turned 16. With written permission, Ocean is now able to donate.
“I ask, what have you done for someone else this week?” says John. “I encourage him to step away from himself and focus on doing something that helps others.”
Donating platelets takes time, but John knows the gift will have a rapid impact. He thinks about the people he’ll be helping while he reads or watches a video and his blood is being drawn.
“Early on, it was a sense of duty that motivated me to be a platelet donor. But through the years, I’ve learned how important it is to give. I’ve seen people who fight so hard to get well, it inspires you to give.”