After losing son to cancer, Midlands woman works to help save lives

After losing son to cancer, Midlands woman works to help save lives
Updated: Mar. 7, 2018 at 7:48 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Every two seconds someone in America needs blood and one Midlands woman is dedicated to making sure that need is met. For more than 10 years Kathy Shaw has organized blood drives at her church.

"She just gives and gives and gives and gives - that's just where she finds joy," Katrina Macari, Kathy's daughter, said.

Watching Kathy in action, you would never know that her desire to help others, comes in part from a place of loss and pain.

"Back in 2002, our son Chuck was diagnosed with Leukemia. He had a bone marrow transplant and he used many, many units of blood and platelets," said Kathy.

Chuck passed away 13 months after his diagnosis at just 29 years old.

"Instead of wallowing in our misery, which we were desperately searching for something to do, we joined up with the Red Cross and the rest is history," she added.

For years Kathy has organized blood drives at Riverland Hills Baptist Church in Irmo, one in the summer and one in the winter.

"We are known for one of the largest blood drives for churches here in the Midlands thanks to Kathy's help," said Kathy Williams, who nominated Shaw because of all of her efforts.

"I think Kathy collects between 200-215 units per year, and that's an impact of almost 600 lives in South Carolina," said Maya Franklin with the SC Red Cross. "We could not do what we do without partners like Kathy."

That's why when she was signing people in for this most recent drive, Matt Mungo surprised her with the news she's our latest Community Builder in partnership with Mungo Homes.

Mungo handed her a hard hat and told her she'd receive $1,000 to the charity of her choice. The surprise brought Kathy to tears.

Kathy's husband, Charlie Shaw, who was giving blood during the surprise says he's so proud of his wife.

"She doesn't do this for the recognition," Charlie said. "We have a passion for this blood drive."

That passion continues to serve a much greater purpose.

"There are going to be surgeries tonight at the local hospital, and tomorrow and the next day," Charlie said. "This blood will go right back to the Red Cross there on Bull Street and it will be out of there tonight and it will be going to places it needs to be."

The next blood drive at Riverland Hills Baptist Church will be held in July. Kathy says it's open for anyone to attend.

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