Getting the Gift of Life

The annual Heartland Blood Drive kicked off Wednesday in the KFVS12 studios. Employees from all over the building gave the gift of life . It's a giftthat one Heartland man knows all too well. In two years, Frank Rayburn has had four heart surgeries. His last surgery was a heart transplant, and he says he wouldn't be alive today if people didn't give blood.

Rayburn says, "I think in our everyday, pattern of life, we don't think about how important it is to give blood." It's something that Rayburn does know. He's thought about blood donation a lot the last few years, that's because he's needed nearly thirty units of blood over the past two years, something that at one time, he didn't think he'd ever need. A few years ago he thought he was in perfect health, but was surprised to find out he needed bypass surgery, and believe it or not that was the easy part. Rayburn says, "When I saw that my heart was failing after my bypass surgery was successful, and I could tell I was deteriorating in health because my weakness and fatigue all the time." His heart failing, doctors hooked him to a machine to keep him alive until he could have a transplant. "It's a very sensitive thing," Rayburn says. "So for me to get a new heart someone had to pass away, but I was praying to get a new heart."

His prayer was answered, and a surgery that was possible because of people who donate blood. That surgery was a year ago, he's getting back to his old self again. Now, every step that Rayburn takes on his walks, he thinks about how someone he doesn't even know helped save his life, by donating blood. "It's life sustaining, without the transfusions of blood, I would not have survived my surgeries," Rayburn says . Rayburn volunteers his time to the American Red Cross. In fact, he'll be at the Heartland Blood Drive in Cape Girardeau this Thursday and Saturday.