CELEBRATING LOCAL HEROES: 'They thought he was going to die'
FIGHTING back tears, Erwin Kleinert told how his son Angus would not have made it out of a 14-hour surgery alive if it wasn't for blood donors.
Mr Kleinert, side-by-side with his wife Karen and their 17-year-old son Angus, celebrated the 63 donors from across Rockhampton who have generously donated their time, and most importantly, their blood as part of National Blood Donor Week.
The 63 donors who were celebrated and thanked at a ceremony on Wednesday have all hit significant milestones, donating between 50 to 300 times.
Angus was diagnosed with a tumour on his spine in December last year and went in for what was meant to be a 12-hour surgery to remove the tumour on March 15.
Almost 14.5 hours and nearly 50 blood transfusions later, Angus came out of the surgery and doctors told Erwin and Karen that he was lucky to have made it.
"Unbeknownst to us, he had a bleeding problem," Mr Kleinert said.
"He nearly bled out.
"He had 49 blood transfusions and about 15 plasma transfusions.
"They told us straight out, they thought he was going to die."
After their ordeal in March, Angus recovered quickly and the Kleinert family became regular blood and plasma donors.
"Because of the complications, he had a secondary surgery and they had him walking a few days after that," Erwin said.
The family said it was amazing seeing how many people go out of their way, in their own time, to do something for the good of others.
"We had never given blood before," Erwin said.
While making 49 donations is a milestone for them to reach, Erwin and Karen say they will continue to donate long after they reach that point.
Karen encouraged people to make the decision to donate blood or plasma, and said "just do it".
"If you are thinking about donating blood, don't think, just do it," she said.
Erwin wanted to make sure people understood the power of the donation and how it can be the difference between life and death for some people.
"Don't underestimate what you are giving," he said.
"With no blood, we'd have no Angus. It's as simple as that."