Allan Burden

Donations of Life Lead to Extra Innings

Allan Burden woke one morning with stomach pains and thought he might have a virus. When his pain became unbearable, he went to the emergency room at Self Regional Hospital in Greenwood.

Doctors determined Allan had a ruptured kidney due to a blocked urethra, and the kidney would have to be removed. A common procedure was recommended, and Allan was eager and willing. Twenty years old at the time, Allan felt young and invincible. He dreamed of becoming a police officer.

Then, the unexpected happened. A staple came loose and punctured a major blood vessel near Allan’s spine. A massive amount of blood was lost. And one by one, Allan’s organs began to shut down. He was given 14 units of blood that day, and his condition was grave. His body needed time to receive the blood and restore his organs.

“I never saw the severity of my situation like my family,” said Allan. “But there I was. I would later realize the value of the gifts I had received.”

Anxiously, his family watched and waited for signs of improvement, and they came, slowly. But Allen wouldn’t be able to leave the hospital for many weeks. He had plenty of time to think.

“Why did I make it off the operating table?” said Allen. “As I lay in the hospital bed, I knew I had survived. And now, I’m in ‘extra innings.’ There must have been a purpose to it all. That’s when an idea took hold of me.”

Growing up in Camden, the strength of tradition, family, and faith helped form Allan. Church was a place of comfort and peace and where he learned about the Bible. Family nights were often spent playing a trivia game called Bible Baseball.

“I remember when all of my friends were outside playing, but I stayed inside to read. I jokingly told my family that I was going to be a preacher and a baseball player when I grew up.”

Today, Allan is a faithful blood donor, giving back to the blood supply that gave him life. “I would never have imagined that I would need 14 pints of blood, 14 gifts from perfect strangers. If that blood had not been available, my outcome would have been different. I wouldn’t have been given these extra innings.”