It’s easy to get caught up in the details of our everyday lives, especially during the holidays, but every now and then we’re reminded that our choices and actions can change the world for the better. Dirk van Rensburg is living proof.
For van Rensburg, a chance encounter with a City of Hope patient several years ago led to a revelation that transformed his life — and contributed to the lives of others he doesn’t even know.
As a courier, van Rensburg often retrieved shipments of donated bone marrow from the airport and delivered them to City of Hope, where physicians transplant the cells into cancer patients to give them a second chance at life.
One day, a transplant coordinator working with a patient noticed van Rensburg nearby and called him over. She introduced him to the patient, noting that van Rensburg had delivered the very marrow used to save the patient’s life. The patient’s emotional thank-you hugs led van Rensburg to realize how his seemingly simple job had changed someone’s life.
Deeply touched, he thought, “I can do more.”
That’s when van Rensburg began a long and faithful career as a platelet donor at City of Hope.
Platelets are the component of blood that forms blood clots. Cancer patients undergoing treatment often have difficulty making platelets. The lack of platelets leaves them at high risk of excessive bleeding, so they receive infusions of healthy, donated platelets, such as those from van Rensburg, to help bolster their ability to stave off bleeding.
To date, van Rensburg has made nearly 200 donations. His commitment is so strong, not even his own personal tragedy kept him from his scheduled donations.
During the devastating Southern California wildfires of 2008, his home and automobile were destroyed. He lost his cat, Mrs. Scooter, too. But van Rensburg still kept his regular appointment and made his 164th donation, just 72 hours after the fire.
Now, van Rensburg has stepped up to motivate others to give, recording a video describing his story and encouraging others to donate blood, platelets or marrow.
“If you can give a part of yourself, for a person you don’t know... [it] takes a very special person to do that,” he said.
If you would like to know more about donating platelets, blood or marrow, please contact City of Hope’s Blood Donor Center at 626-471-7171.
New, more convenient hours
The Blood Donor Center has expanded hours to make it easier to donate.
|Monday and Tuesday:|| ||10 a.m. to 6:45 p.m.|
|Wednesday:|| ||8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.|
|Thursday through Saturday:|| ||6 a.m. to 3 p.m.|
|and|| || |
|2nd Sunday of each month:|| ||6 a.m. to 3 p.m.|