Midstate father with Leukemia encourages the community to donate blood


HUMMELSTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) — Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank is in need of donations of blood. The blood bank says they do their best to try and meet the demand.

Donations can help with life-saving situations like tragic accidents, health crises’, or even blood transfusions.

“I went into the emergency room on a Sunday afternoon and within three hours I was needing blood,” Cameron Bendgen said.

Middletown native, husband, and father Cameron Bendgen says back in September he got extremely ill with shortness of breath and lost 25 pounds. That’s how he learned he has leukemia. Bendgen says from September till now he’s had eight blood transfusions.

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“These are life-sustaining for me, so if I’m not getting these blood transfusions my quality of life would be very poor,” Bendgen said.

Workers at the Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank say donations have been low.

“We’ve had a serious decrease in the number of people that we see both at our blood drives and our donor centers,” President/CEO of the Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank Patrick Bradley said.

The center serves 11 counties and partner with 24 hospitals and have a goal to have at least 250 donations a day.

However, it’s a challenge to meet that goal when many organizations, churches, and schools are hesitant to host blood drives because of the pandemic.

“If the blood is not available hospitals have to make really hard decisions on how to treat their patients and do they need to cancel surgeries or what else might they need to do to use the limited resources that they have,” Bradley said.

“There could be a trauma such as a car accident where people need units of blood and I can just see the value of that because I’m still going into the hospital every other day to get my blood levels checked,” Bendgen said.

Bendgen continues to encourage the community to donate because one pint of blood can help 3 people at a time.

“I would just really go out there and do that if you have done it in the past, and you need an urge and you haven’t thought about that I challenge you and I hope that this is that urge that you’ve been needing,” Bendgen said.

To help donate you can visit the blood banks website here.

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