|Volume LVI||October 2009||Number 3|
A Lifesaver, Almost a Thousand Times Over
Bro. Edward Budman, P.M., Lodge No. 2, Philadelphia, has quietly helped save the lives of hundreds of people over the course of his lifetime. He's not Superman, nor is he a doctor. He is a blood donor.
Since the age of 17, he has donated 41 gallons of blood which, based on the American Red Cross' assessment, means he potentially has come to the rescue of 985 people in need. His selfless act has earned him a Real Heroes 2009 Award from the American Red Cross Lower Bucks County Chapter & Citizens Bank.
Bro. Budman donated his first pint of blood as a young man after his grandmother became ill.
"It became a habit," he said. "There's always a need. If you can give, the effects are nil. For a person who needs it, it's very important."
Someone in this country needs blood every two seconds, according to the American Red Cross, while only about 5 percent of eligible Americans give blood annually. Blood donation is a simple sacrifice, and while most donors never meet their recipients, they feel the satisfaction of knowing they may have saved the lives of multiple strangers.
Bro. Budman knows first-hand that illness or injury can strike at any moment. Three years ago, he was diagnosed with melanoma and had to temporarily stop donating blood. Today, he is fully recovered and back to giving regular blood donations.
Instead of a traditional blood donation, he gives blood platelets and plasma through a more complex process called apheresis. While the process takes about two hours, it immediately replenishes the donor's red blood cells and he or she is able to donate blood again within three days. The legal maximum number of times a person can donate platelets in a year is 24, which is exactly how many times Bro. Budman makes the sacrifice.
He also donates infection-fighting white cells called granulocytes. These are needed for patients receiving bone marrow transplants whose white blood cell counts are low. He is on call with local hospitals in case a patient matching his granulocyte type needs help - a call he has answered 20 times in his lifetime.
Carrying on a tradition of blood donation are Bro. Budman's sons, Brandon Budman and Bro. Derek Budman, also a member of Lodge No. 2. He even found a way to combine his dedication to the Masonic fraternity with his commitment to donating blood.
For 15 years, he has served on the Board of Directors for the Masonic Blood Donor Club, a blood assurance plan. A blood assurance plan is a group of people who join together and agree to donate blood on a routine basis in anticipation of the future needs of the group's members. Participation offers members cost-free blood replacement on a nationwide basis, as long as the hospital is a member of the American Association of Blood Banks. This offers valuable protection for members and their families, since most health insurance policies may not pay for all the blood required.
As a member of the Masonic Blood Donor Club, Bro. Budman organizes blood drives through local churches and he visits lodges to share more information about blood donation and the benefits of being a member of the blood donor club.
"Ed has never lost his commitment to the numerous Masonic blood drives and the value of human life," Bro. David Tansey, District Deputy Grand Master of District D, Jerusalem Lodge No. 506, Philadelphia, said. "He leads by example and represents himself and all Freemasons with honor."
"The best feeling is just making sure you are doing what you can," Bro. Budman said.
To become a hero to many, you can find a Masonic Blood Donor Club membership form on the Grand Lodge Web site at www.pagrandlodge.org and select Blood/Organ Donors from the left panel. If for health reasons you are unable to donate blood, you may join to be supplied with a donor. There are no dues required for membership; however, voluntary donations are greatly appreciated.
If you would like to schedule a speaker; if your lodge, valley or Shrine wants to set up a Bloodmobile; or to participate in a Bloodmobile with a local church, school or business, please e-mail Bro. Norman A. Fox, Hackenburg Mt. Moriah Lodge No. 19, Philadelphia, via e-mail or contact Bro. William Gottschalk, Frankford Lodge No. 292, Philadelphia, at (717) 361-4067 or via e-mail.
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