SAN DIEGO – Nearly 450 people have donated blood in the name of a La Jolla teacher and mother of three in need of a rare blood type to fight bone cancer. But so far, there hasn’t been a match.
Stacie Buechel, 47, requires about a pint of the rare blood per week for transfusions done as a part of her treatment. Donors can have the blood type A+, O- or O+ but not a protein called Kpb. Less than 1% of the U.S. population has that type of blood, according to The San Diego Blood Bank.
News of the high turnout to donate blood thrilled Buechel, a Montessori teacher and founder of Essbee Learning Center.
“She is incredibly overwhelmed by all the people and the people who have reached out,” said Nancy Phillips, Buechel’s friend.
In a post Tuesday on the family’s Meal Train page, Buechel noted her prognosis is “a bit grimmer” than originally thought, but that, “We can’t give up hope.”
“That word represents more time with my children and family, more time with Essbee and my students, more time to really practice the truest meaning of life,” she wrote. “I am hurting for sure, I get so lonely in the hospital – Covid robs us of our families. I have no one to lean on when I am here.
“While I have moments of deep despair, I am more moments of love and hope.”
The family hopes more will continue to show up. And despite not yet locating a match, not all is lost, said Claudine Van Gonka, community relations director for the blood bank.
A majority of the 449 people donating for Buechel likely are first-time donors, Van Gonka said, meaning their blood types are added to the registry and could help someone else down the road.
Anyone who would like to donate blood in Buechel’s name can visit any San Diego Blood Bank donation location or mobile drive and note the donation code “ESSB” when registering. To be eligible, you must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 114 pounds and be in general good health.
Appointments are available by visiting sandiegobloodbank.org or by calling 619-400-8251.