Meet Olivia Woodruff
Olivia Woodruff is a young, beautiful and optimistic woman. Looking at her, one would never know the battle she has been fighting for nearly three years. In July 2007, just two months after the birth of her second daughter, Olivia started experiencing double vision, eyelid drooping, difficulty talking and swallowing. She had always been healthy, but when this terrifying ordeal unfolded, she found herself in the intensive care unit of Sarasota Memorial Hospital.
Doctors diagnosed and removed a tumor on her thymus gland. They also diagnosed myasthenia gravis (MG). MG is a neuromuscular disorder characterized by atrophy of the muscles and is caused by an abnormal immune system. There is no known cure for MG, but there are special blood therapies that can help reduce symptoms. Being diagnosed with MG changed Olivia’s life dramatically.
Olivia was given medications and underwent outpatient plasma exchange treatments. During each plasma exchange, Olivia’s plasma was removed and replaced with purified donor plasma. In total, Olivia received 33 plasma exchange treatments and 99 liters of albumin. “I cannot imagine how many blood donors helped save my life. I wish I could tell them how important their donations were. They are my saviors,” remarks Olivia.
“I can’t thank blood donors enough,” says Olivia. “They gave me back a normal life and the ability to care for my two little girls. I know I may go into crisis at some time down the road, and I may need more treatments. It’s comforting to know that Suncoast Communities Blood Bank and the blood donors will be there for me.”