in Beverly Hills, took part, for an incredible 104th time, in a blood
donation process Friday that allows participants to donate just the
platelets. Platelet donations are critical to cancer patients such as
those with leukemia who are undergoing chemotherapy because the process
kills platelets, Arevalo explained. Patients who have undergone major
surgery also need platelets, which are essential for normal blood
"I became a nurse so that I could help people," Lilly said. "Donating
gives me a great sense of accomplishment."
In a time when the American Red Cross has announced a severe blood
shortage in Southern California, Lilly, 47, a soon-to-be mother of six --
she has three children and her fiance has three as well -- said she makes
it a priority to donate platelets at least once a month.
Lilly used to donate twice a week, but she built up so much scar
tissue that she had to stop for an year.
"It takes someone with a strong commitment and who understands the
need of this lifesaving gift," Cecilia Arevalo, spokesperson for the
American Red Cross, said of Lilly. "She's amazing."
Platelet donations are different from whole-blood donations because a
blood cell separator receives blood from a donor's veing and
automatically removes only platelets. The remaining components of the
blood are returned to the donor through another vein. Platelets
regenerate in the body within 24 hours, Arevalo said.
Platelet donors don't loose as much blood and don't get woozy, Lilly
"I always go work out right afterward," she said.
The staff at the Blood Donation Center at Providence St. Joseph
Medical Center is fantastic, said Lilly. They try to accommodate
everyone's needs, send nice cards after a donation and really make it
worth your while, she said.
Lilly lives in Simi Valley with her 16-year-old daughter, Christina
King and son, Jonathon King, 20, a premed major at Moorpark University.
Her other daughter Melissa King, 18, is a premed major out-of-state.
Lilly has often given blood for specific patients, some of whom have
asked her if they will get a bit of her vitality in the process.
"I do have a lot of energy," she said.
THE LILLY FILE:
JOB: Cardiac Physiology Lab Nurse at Providence St. Joseph Medical
HOME: Simi Valley.
FAMILY: Lilly will marry Andy Zahorecz today. She has two daughters
and a son and her fiancee has two sons, Paul, 20, and Eric, 18; and a
daughter Katie, 14.
HOBBIES: Mountain biking, jogging, working out at the gym.
QUOTE: "I only do this for the free cookies."
HOW TO HELP:
To donate blood or platelets, call Providence St. Joseph Medical
Center at 557-5496 or the American Red Cross at (800) GIVE-LIFE.