Miki Hunnicutt is sold on the mission of Self Enhancement, Inc. (SEI) and she will enthusiastically tell anyone who will listen about the successes of her students.
What she rarely talks about, however, is how close SEI came to losing her to a catastrophic health problem.
But thanks in part to many, many blood donors at the Red Cross, Hunnicutt's life was saved through a series of blood transfusions during and after intense treatment to remove multiple tumors.
The American Red Cross hosts their annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blood Drive Monday, Jan. 21, at their Portland Donor Center, located at 3131 N. Vancouver Ave. The drive runs from 1:30 to 8 p.m. Appointments are encouraged, please call 1-800 RED CROSS or visit online at www.redcrossblood.org.
Hunnicutt serves the vital role of Social and Life Skills Manager at SEI, and is an incredible source of support, bringing life and academic balance to her students.
In 2010, while going about her normal duties at work, Hunnicutt sensed that her energy was lower than usual.
She decided to make an appointment with her doctor just to be safe; what she thought was going to be a routine check-up ended as a scheduling for surgery. Her physician assured her that the procedure would be straightforward and her recovery routine.
Soon Hunnicutt learned she had several benign tumors; surgery was scheduled. Even the most seasoned and skillful surgeons can experience patient complications, and in Hunnicutt's case there were many, and they were severe.
Her blood pressure plummeted during surgery and Hunnicutt began losing blood. She was immediately transfused with multiple units of blood and by the time the bleeding was controlled and the surgery complete, nine large tumors had been removed.
"At first I was freaked out when I looked up at the blood bag, but I'd already partnered with Red Cross through SEI and I already knew the procedure so I wasn't as alarmed as I would otherwise be." Hunnicutt said. "I always pressed others to donate, because I wasn't eligible. I never knew that blood was going to be a gift for me!"
After several more blood transfusions, Hunnicutt slowly began recover.
She now looks at blood donation as one of the most important types of giving.
"It's unconditional love, its pure giving," she says.
These days, she uses blood donation as an example when teaching her students about humanitarianism. She tells her students that blood donors, for the most part, go unrecognized by their recipient, and giving is at its best when it is not done for accolades. Hunnicutt encourages teenagers to find a path of volunteerism that suits them and to pursue it to its fullest.
"I could never thank my donors enough, but I can be here for my students and honor my blood donors in that way," Hunnicutt said.
Miki Hunnicutt is truly an exceptional SEI staff member and youth mentor. SEI staff and students are grateful that blood donors helped save her life two years ago. Hunnicutt shared her story of being saved through blood donation at a recent assembly. The kids stood up, cheered and said, "We're so glad you're still here, Ms. Hunnicutt!"
If you would like to make an appointment to donate blood, call 1-800 RED CROSS or visit us online at www.redcrossblood.org. If you have questions about your eligibility to donate blood call 1-866-236-3276 and a team member will be happy to answer your questions.
Self Enhancement, Inc. creates positive citizens. Find out more at www.SelfEnhancement.org