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Blood donor unexpectedly becomes recipient of lifesaving transfusion


Maria Callanan knows the power of blood donation – now from both sides of the experience.

As a teenager, she would often accompany her mother to then-Easton Hospital (now St. Luke’s Easton Campus) to receive transfusions during her cancer treatment.

“They helped her live two years longer,” recalled the Easton woman. “I was grateful to the people who were donors at Miller-Keystone Blood Center.” This inspired her during her teens to start donating regularly at the center, in Bethlehem, or other “pop-up” drives.

Then, on Christmas Day 2022, in the midst of celebrating with her family, the 32-year-old stay-at-home mom was rushed to St. Luke’s Anderson Campus in agonizing pain, caused by a twisted ovary and ovarian cyst. She underwent extensive emergency surgery to remove both, needing a lifesaving transfusion replace blood lost during the operation.

Today, she continues giving blood at Miller-Keystone, in memory of her mother and with gratitude to the generous donors whose blood saved her life.

“I think Miller-Keystone is wonderful,” she said. “I love their mission and the people who run it.”

MKBC has locations in Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Reading, the Poconos, Pittston and Ewing, N.J., and holds blood drives at area businesses and other locations.

St. Luke’s, a founding member of Miller-Keystone over 50 years ago, continues its commitment as the only local health care network that identifies MKBC as its primary blood supplier.

Callanan’s goal also is to help increase the blood supply from future generations. “My mission is to educate my children and other children on why it’s so important and to motivate them to make the decision to donate blood.”

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