Graf family

Posted by Rancho Murieta Women's Club and Vitalant (formerly BloodSource)
Joanna and Bob Graf love being grandparents and love being part of the Rancho Murieta community. The community’s dedication to a plentiful blood supply to help all patients plus education inspires the Grafs.  Joanna will make her first platelet donation soon and Bob takes full advantage of his business connections to advocate for blood drives and encourage others to donate.

The Grafs know firsthand the importance of blood donation and how it helps others because their grandson, Fritz (affectionately called Super Fritz) needed blood during his leukemia treatment. “I would have donated earlier if I had known of the need,” shares Joanna. “I am grateful for the opportunity to donate blood – and platelets - offered as part of the Rancho Murieta blood drive. Donating blood is a way to expand your giving. If you knew you could turn someone’s life around, why wouldn’t you do it?” 

Stephanie Kresse, Vitalant (formerly BloodSource) recruitment representative has worked with the Rancho Murieta blood drive committee for ten years. “They continually amaze me with their commitment to making each drive successful. A willingness to educate potential donors about current needs and new opportunities, like platelet donation, shows a broader understanding about the ways they can change lives for good.”

The image of Fritz and his courage is never far from the Grafs’ minds. “Fritz is a little bundle of courage and he doesn’t even realize it!” observes Joanna. “Anna and Ben (Fritz’s parents) have been very intuitive about their child’s perspective of the treatments. Their creative vocabulary has eased the anxiety Fritz might have had about the procedures, such as using ‘juice caboose’ for the infusion center!”

Fritz, now a happy kindergartener and awesome soccer player, shows no fear and is always up for a big adventure, including making plans to be a lion tamer! Joanna shares, “The whole family demonstrates a positive attitude, even during hard times. Whatever I can do to help others, I want to try.”

Joanna pauses before reflecting, “Without visionaries in medicine, we wouldn’t have the great successes we see today for children with leukemia. We are so grateful for those who care for children like Fritz and those who donate blood. It’s possible we wouldn’t have Fritz if we didn’t have people willing to donate and places like Rancho Murieta giving people opportunities to donate.”

Vitalant (formerly BloodSource) is staging Rancho Murieta's quarterly blood drive Monday in cooperation with the Rancho Murieta Women's Club and St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church. The drive is from noon to 6 p.m. at St. Vincent DePaul Church, on Cantova Way. Donors should bring a photo I.D. and eat well and drink plenty of water.

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