Nannie Pickens

It’s A Worthy Cause

“What if the blood had not been there when I needed it?”

In February 2005, Nannie Pickens experienced what she thought was a heart attack. Blood tests revealed that her enzymes were elevated and EKG results were abnormal. “At the time I didn’t know what was wrong. I had trouble breathing,” said 55 year old Nannie.

A heart catheterization was scheduled to check for blood vessel blockages. But when an artery seal broke during the procedure, Nannie suffered an unexpected loss of blood. She had to have a blood transfusion. When she awoke she was surprised to learn that she had needed blood. “What if the blood had not been available when I needed it?” she said “I was so thankful.” However, Nannie continued to have breathing difficulties and eventually learned that the real problem was lung cancer. Fortunately, with treatment, Nannie successfully recovered. With improved health, Nannie found a new outlook. “I started thinking about how I was living,” she said. “I lost weight and started taking better care of myself.” Her experiences also motivated her to become an advocate for blood donation, talking specifically to the African American community.

Today, Nannie speaks out about the need for more African American donors. She speaks about how rare they are and that only 7.5% donate blood in Greenville and the Upstate. And she personally thanks donors whenever she meets them. Recently, she helped sponsor a blood drive at her church, Jesus Is Lord Ministry, in Easley. “Keep it up – it’s a blessing, a true blessing. I enjoy life now and I’m thankful for every day.”