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Jane Cavanagh 1 Copy

Jane's Story

Bay of Plenty

Mum of two says a big ‘THANK YOU’ to the blood donors who saved her life

In late 2014, Jane was a happy, healthy mum of two young children enjoying a carefree family holiday in Australia. But shortly after arriving back in New Zealand Jane suffered a seizure and was rushed to Tauranga hospital. This was the beginning of a life-changing few months for the Bay of Plenty mother.

Jane had two CT scans and an MRI before doctors diagnosed her with Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM), a tangle of blood vessels in the frontal lobe of her brain. The AVM, at around 5.5cm by 7.5cm in size, was among the biggest that surgeons at Waikato Hospital had ever seen. Jane was handed an uncertain future with doctors unsure if she would survive.

Jane’s doctors presented her with several options for treatment, and Jane chose to undergo a risky surgery as it was her best option for a successful recovery. Thankfully, the operation was successful and surgeons were able to remove the AVM from her brain, but Jane lost a lot of blood during the ten hour surgery and required several blood transfusions to keep her alive.

Having a positive attitude is everything for this strong lady. Not one to sit around in the hospital, Jane was determined to prove the doctors wrong who told her she would be unable to go home for at least ten days. But in the days immediately following her operation, Jane’s haemoglobin levels continued to drop and she required more blood. In total, Jane received 12 lifesaving blood transfusions.

Jane’s children Liam (10) and Savanna (7) spent time at her bedside in the hospital, helping to keep a smile on her face. Jane remembers the small gestures such as putting a flannel on her head, and staying to hold her hand for hours on end that meant the world to her during her recovery.

But Jane credits our everyday superheroes with saving her life. Along with her skilled surgeons, blood donors are the reason Jane was alive and able to go home only seven days after her surgery - a huge achievement!

“I want to say a big thank you to ALL blood donors; without them I would not be here today,” she says. “Blood transfusions saved my life.”

To find out more about how to become a blood donor to help save the lives of people like Jane, click here or call 0800 GIVE BLOOD.