CALDWELL, TX — The people of Caldwell came together for an act of service over the weekend, donating blood in honor of two local church members battling cancer and COVID-19.
Just three months ago, Caldwell resident Jeanne Prestwood's husband Sam Prestwood fell ill with the novel coronavirus. His family never dreamed that during the holidays, Sam would be fighting for his life on a ventilator.
“Being locked out of the hospital and not being able to see him and give him the comfort; to hold his hand and be able to tell him it was all going to be okay; I was at a loss," Jeanne said. "[I thought] well, what can I do to help?”
As Sam remains in long term intensive care at a Conroe hospital, his wife and their friends at Caldwell First United Methodist Church [FUMC] banded together on Saturday to donate blood and plasma towards those in need. Jeanne was well aware that those suffering complications from serious diseases like Sam was, might need transfusions of blood or plasma just to survive.
“The plasma infusions that Sam received; at first, it was small changes," Jeanne noted. "But that was the first positive thing helping him in his favor for his recovery.”
Nearly 30 people came out to the church to give blood; not only for Sam, but for another church member who is currently battling cancer, Stephanie Ashlock. Jeanne said that Ashlock has been in need of blood donations as well, and Jeanne felt hers was a worthy cause alongside Sam’s. Ashlock is a longtime and beloved member of the Caldwell FUMC flock.
“I think a lot of Stephanie," commented Sherrian Gondesen, a church member who showed up to donate blood on Saturday. "I’ve known her ever since she moved to this area from Houston... I just want to help her in any way that I can.“
Jeanne and the church worked with Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center to host this event, and Jeanne said she hopes to have several more blood drives in the near future. To learn more about Gulf Coast's blood drives in the Brazos Valley area, visit giveblood.org.