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All Impact Stories
Melissa Fortino

Melissa Fortino

Blood Donation, Michigan

Through blood donation, Melissa hopes to save lives and inspire more young people to give the gift of life.

Melissa has type O negative blood, which is the universal blood type that can be safely received by all patients.

“When I learned about how few people with O negative blood donate and how it goes to help trauma patients, that’s when I started donating,” said Melissa.

When one of Melissa’s friends was diagnosed with cancer and needed platelets for their treatment, Melissa began donating platelets every two weeks. Driven by her friend’s battle to survive, Melissa hopes to inspire others to help patients in need through the life-saving act of blood donation.

 “We have to support each other as a community. We can help save lives,” said Melissa.

Other Impact Stories

Jesse Pagel presenting a check to Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin to support Organ Donation

Jesse Pagels

Jesse was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2003. Unfortunately, the treatment damaged his lungs. In 2013, a match was found and Jesse underwent a life-saving double lung transplant.

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Judge Mosely and Judge Eiring at Cream City 5K in 2019

Judges Derek Mosley and JoAnn Eiring

In 2014, Derek was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease. Already his colleague and close friend, JoAnn got tested to see if she could donate her kidney and save Derek’s life.

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Gia Danninger

Gia Danninger

Gia Danninger is a fighter. When she was 5 years old, she was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a rare disease that occurs when the body stops producing enough new blood cells.

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