Kraig Kotter has a second lease on life, and it is something he does not take for granted.
Kraig is a heart transplant recipient; he had the procedure in September 2016. Blood products from numerous blood donors were necessary to complete the 10-hour surgery.
“I had 14 blood donors help get me through that procedure,” Kraig says. “It gives you a sense of responsibility to live a life deserving of all those gifts. Part of that responsibility is spreading the word to people who are not informed, about the importance of this.”
That sense of responsibility has led Kraig to take his message on the road. He travels and speaks with groups of all ages, including high school students, about the importance of blood donation.
“When I speak to people, I give them a little responsibility to give blood,” he says.
Some of Kraig’s first memories of blood donation came courtesy of his father. Kraig says, he remembers his father giving blood in his hometown, located in Schuyler County, Illinois.
Kraig realizes not everyone may understand the significance of giving blood, and how much it can make a difference when you are on the receiving end. That’s all part of his message for those he meets.
“People may not realize how important it is to give blood. If I can be a small part of changing their minds, it’s worth it to me to spend the time doing that.”
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. The American Red Cross supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood, and we depend on the generosity of donors to help save lives. Thank you, Kraig for sharing your story and helping inspire others to give the gift of lifesaving blood!
If you would like to help others who need blood, you can make an appointment today. Visit redcrossblood.org, call 800-RED-CROSS or use the free Red Cross Blood Donor App to sign up at a location near you.
Written by Illinois Region Communications Manager Brian Williamsen