One afternoon in August 2022, Luke told his mother he wasn’t feeling well. As his mom, Christina, was getting ready to take him to the doctor, he collapsed at home.
Christina called 911 and two firefighters helped Luke walk to her car. Then she took her 18-year-old to the emergency room, where they were told there were only two units of blood available.
“They didn’t have time to type him, and I didn’t know his blood type,” Christina said. “They gave him the two units they had, and that was enough to stabilize him so they could get him to an ICU.”
Luke needed both of those type-O blood units, as doctors quickly realized that his hemoglobin levels were at 2.7 g/dL. (A healthy hemoglobin level for adult males is between 13.8 and 17.2 g/dL.)
After he was transferred to an intensive care unit, Luke received four more units of blood, including two units of platelets. He was diagnosed with leukemia, which was the cause of his low red blood cell counts.
“I looked at that first bag of blood and I saw South Texas Blood & Tissue, and it said that donation had been made on July 25,” Christina said.
“Before the transfusion, I couldn’t walk. I was like shaking,” Luke said. “Afterwards, I could stand and walk and talk.”
Those blood donors prolonged his life for 6 more weeks. He passed away unexpectedly from complications of leukemia on Sept. 17, 2022.
Luke had graduated from high school and planned to go to San Antonio College. He loved cats and playing bass with his band. Luke is the second oldest of three brothers and a baby sister.
He had a simple message for potential blood donors.
“Your donations are greatly appreciated,” he said. “It’s not going to go to waste, you know?”
Luke’s family encourages the community to donate blood and host blood drives for patients like him. If you would like to schedule a donation or drive, visit SouthTexasBlood.org.