Blood Donor Unexpectedly Becomes Recipient Lifesaving Transfusion

Maria Callanan knows the power of blood donation – now from both sides of the experience.

As a teenager, she would often accompany her mother to then-Easton Hospital (now St. Luke’s Easton Campus) to receive transfusions during her cancer treatment.  “They helped her live two years longer,” recalled the Easton woman. “I was grateful to the people who were donors at Miller-Keystone Blood Center.” This inspired during her teens to start donating regularly at Keystone-Miller Blood Center, in Bethlehem, or other “pop-up” drives.

Then, on Christmas Day 2022, in the midst of celebrating with her family, the 32-year-old stay-at-home Mom was rushed to St. Luke’s Anderson Campus in agonizing pain, caused by a twisted ovary and ovarian cyst. She underwent extensive emergency surgery to remove both, needing a lifesaving transfusion replace blood lost during the operation.

Today, she continues giving blood at Miller-Keystone, in memory of her mother and with gratitude to the generous donors whose blood saved her life.

“I think Miller-Keystone is wonderful,” she said. “I love their mission and the people who run it.”

MKBC has locations in Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Reading, the Poconos, Pittston and Ewing, NJ, and holds blood drives at area businesses and other locations.

St. Luke’s, a founding member of Miller-Keystone over 50 years ago, continues its unwavering commitment as the only local health care network that identifies MKBC as its primary blood supplier. Without St. Luke’s steadfast support for MKBC, the Lehigh Valley could run out of the blood necessary for to provide lifesaving care for patients, particularly during a regional or national blood shortage or other crisis.

Callanan’s goal also is to help increase the blood supply from future generations. “My mission is to educate my children and other children on why it’s so important and to motivate them to make the decision to donate blood.”

MKBC has locations in Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Reading, the Poconos, Pittston and Ewing, NJ, and holds blood drives at area businesses and other locations.

About St. Luke’s

Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network of more than 20,000 employees providing services at 15 campuses and 350+ outpatient sites.  With annual net revenue of $3.4 billion, the Network’s service area includes 11 counties in two states: Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Montgomery, Monroe, Schuylkill and Luzerne counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey. St. Luke’s hospitals operate the largest network of trauma centers in Pennsylvania, with the Bethlehem Campus being home to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital.

Dedicated to advancing medical education, St. Luke’s is the preeminent teaching hospital in central-eastern Pennsylvania.  In partnership with Temple University, the Network established the Lehigh Valley’s first and only four-year medical school campus.  It also operates the nation’s oldest School of Nursing, established in 1884, and 52 fully accredited graduate medical educational programs with more than 500 residents and fellows. In 2022, St. Luke’s, a member of the Children’s Hospital Association, opened the Lehigh Valley’s first and only free-standing facility dedicated entirely to kids.

SLUHN is the only Lehigh Valley-based health care system to earn Medicare’s five-star ratings (the highest) for quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction.  It is both a Leapfrog Group and Healthgrades Top Hospital and a Newsweek World’s Best Hospital.  The Network’s flagship University Hospital has earned the 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation from Fortune/PINC AI 10 years in a row, including in 2023 when it was identified as THE #4 TEACHING HOSPITAL IN THE COUNTRY.  In 2021, St. Luke’s was identified as one of the 15 Top Health Systems nationally.  Utilizing the Epic electronic medical record (EMR) system for both inpatient and outpatient services, the Network is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of the SLUHN’s information technology applications such as telehealth, online scheduling and online pricing information.  The Network is also recognized as one of the state’s lowest-cost providers.


Information provided to TVL by:
Sam Kennedy