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The Hanson Family's Story

Tom and Elaine Hanson are extremely thankful for generous Nebraska Community Blood Bank blood donors. Because of them, Tom and Elaine will celebrate every Valentine's Day happy, healthy and together! Tom and Elaine met when they posed as a couple for a restaurant's photo shoot. Elaine was an employee there and Tom's daughter offered up his services when the original male model fell through.

"The whole time we were both thinking this is the kind of person I wish I could meet," Elaine said of the chance encounter. Weeks later Tom asked the restaurant manager for more information and the couple started dating. Five years later, they tied the knot.

Over the recent Thanksgiving holiday, which was also his birthday, Tom suffered a stroke due to a leaking mechanical heart valve, which left him weak and vulnerable. It took 11 pints of blood and open heart surgery to save his life.

"My heart is so grateful knowing people are taking the time to donate their blood for whomever may need it," Elaine said through tears. "I saw my husband extremely ill to the point that I didn't know if he was going to make it. I watched him receive the blood. I was so thankful it was available when he needed it."

When Elaine got a phone call from NCBB letting her know her blood type was needed, she immediately scheduled an appointment. Just the night before, she sat across the table from Tom, and they talked about how happy they were he was alive and doing well.  

“We spent three long, stressful months completely unsure of the future,” Elaine said. “When I look at him, I see him not only smiling with his mouth, but also his eyes. I know he is back, and we can start living a normal life again. What a victory. I want to help provide that peace for others.”

Tom, who can no longer donate because of his condition, is happy to still be able to spend time with the love of his life.
"I'm so thankful to have found such a wonderful partner in Elaine," Tom said. "Without her I wouldn't have made it. She powered me all the way through this. I'm so thankful."

Download the Hanson family's story