Nurse donates blood to honor father’s memory and help cancer patients
Clinical Nurse Christine Durana donates blood so often, she takes a photo of her arm each time to help her remember when it’s been 56 days and she is eligible to donate again.
“I scroll back through my photos to see when it was taken and then I know when to schedule my next appointment,” says Durana, who works in MD Anderson’s Lymphoma/Myeloma Center.
Since joining MD Anderson in 2019, Durana has never skipped an opportunity to donate. In fact, she’s donated blood more than a dozen times at MD Anderson blood drives and donor centers to help cancer patients and to honor the memory of her father.
Knowing the value of blood donations for cancer patients
Durana knows first-hand the critical importance of blood. At MD Anderson, 150 doses of red blood cells and 400 doses of platelets are provided each day to patients. Many of Durana’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma patients are among those patients who need transfusions to replace blood components that are dangerously low.
“Anemia is common among patients, as well as impaired blood cell production from chemotherapy drugs,” she says. “In other cases, the disease process itself interferes with the normal production of blood cells and can lead to dangerous complications.”
Durana feels a sense of duty to donate blood to help ensure there’s an adequate supply for patients and to pay it forward, as her father received 12 life-saving units of blood during heart surgery a few years ago.
“All that blood came from donations, and it saved his life,” she says. “I pledged to return this gift of life by giving blood so that someone else may have the chance to live longer with their loved ones like my father did.”
Part of the healing journey for cancer patients
Durana has fond memories growing up in the Philippines and accompanying her mother to the hospital she worked at as a nurse.
“I was always amazed at all the action that happened at the hospital and the way the nursing team treated each other like family – I wanted to be part of that,” she says.
After completing nursing school, Durana was recruited to work at a hospital in the Texas Medical Center by her aunt, who had previously moved to the U.S. as a nurse. By this time, her parents and three sisters had moved to the U.S., with one sister also working as a nurse. Durana spent several years at other TMC hospitals, working in Infection Control, as well as several years on a cystic fibrosis inpatient unit.
Since joining MD Anderson, she has developed a passion for caring for oncology patients and being a part of their healing journey.
“It gives me fulfillment when patients already know me by name and I get to see them every month as they progress through treatment,” she says. “I’m there to celebrate with them in good times and provide support and compassion when things don’t go the way we want.”
Each time Durana donates blood, she thinks of her patients who may benefit from her donation. She also thinks of her father who passed away recently, and she is grateful to be able to continue donating in his honor.
“I give blood because it saves lives – and it only takes 30 minutes!” she says. “It makes me happy to think that I can save lives not only as a nurse but as a compassionate human being,” she says.