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Spider Bite Leads to Surgery, Blood Transfusions
By Jeffery Diffy, ASBP Blood Donor Recruiter, North Chicago, Ill.
Five generations of this recruit’s family. Norma Heron received a spider bit and survived due, in part, to blood donation availability. Pictured left to right are: Margie Edwards (great-grandmother), Norma Heron (grandmother), Gracyn Brown (sister), Nikki Heron (mother), Bostyn Garms (daughter) and Seaman Recruit Britanie Bookker.
Navy grandmother Norma Heron needed blood after surgery. Her need was great and the reason was a simple spider bite.
“In July 2004, I was bitten by a brown recluse spider on my upper thigh,” Heron said. “Having been bitten by spiders before and not having any real problem, except for a bit of swelling, I thought nothing of it.”
Heron said she believed it would heal and go away, as all her spider bites before had. But about three weeks later, she said she felt a knot in her leg.
“I went to see my primary care doctor,” she said. “He sent me to the hospital emergency room. After an exam, I was taken into surgery and a very large section of my upper thigh was removed.”
Heron was given blood while in surgery. Afterwards, she remained in the hospital for three months of rehab.
“My doctor said I was within 24 hours of dying,” she said. “(The blood donations) saved my life.”
Knowing just how important blood donations were for her grandmother, Seaman Recruit Britanie Bookker donated blood with the Armed Services Blood Program March 30 while attending boot camp in Great Lakes, Ill.
“Before the Navy, I was working for a medical clinic in Fort Worth, Texas. I love music, painting and being outdoors. My goal in the Navy is to serve my country with honor, and to make sure my daughter Bostyn Garms, is well taken care of while I’m gone” said Bookker.
Bookker will attend “A” school as a quartermaster in Great Lakes, Ill., after she graduates initial training April 21.
“Knowing that I might save a person’s life by donating blood gives me satisfaction (and) that a society we still believe in human kind as a whole,” Bookker said.
“I thank God for the person or persons who donated the blood that saved my life and I am forever grateful to them,” Heron said. “I am so proud of my granddaughter and all others for donating blood. Many lives have been saved because of them. And God bless all the wonderful men and women who serve in our military.”
About the Armed Services Blood Program
Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program has served as the sole provider of blood for the United States military. As a tri-service organization, the ASBP collects, processes, stores and distributes blood and blood products to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and their families worldwide. As one of four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, potent blood supply, the ASBP works closely with our civilian counterparts by sharing donors on military installations where there are no military blood collection centers and by sharing blood products in times of need to maximize availability of this national treasure. To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, please visit
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