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'Achy Breaky Heart' blood drive Donor beneficiary wants to pay back


Janice Shaw knows firsthand the value and generosity of blood donors.

Her daughter Jamie was near death after an automobile accident in December 1991, and during initial surgery at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, she required 16 pints of blood.

That's why she and her entire family are involved in "Help Fix an Achy Breaky Heart," the seventh annual Red Cross Memorial Day Blood Drive from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. today at the Comfort Inn, 451 WMC Drive, Westminster.

"This is a payback. This is something we want to do," Mrs. Shaw said from her office in the Comfort Inn, where she is director of sales.

"It's a catharsis for me. I want to be able to help others, and having the blood drive here is something I can do to help."

Jamie, then 15, was injured when, returning home from a bowling alley in Randallstown with a friend, she reminded the driver to buckle his seat belt.

After trying unsuccessfully several times to fasten it, the driver finally took his eyes off the road and looked down. The car swerved across the center line and hit a utility pole on the right side -- where Jamie was sitting.

"All of the bones in her face were broken, and she lost eight teeth. The right side of her brain was bruised," said Mrs. Shaw. "When we visited the accident site, her teeth and hair were still on the pole. It was awful."

Jamie was in the hospital for a month and was on a respirator for three weeks.

"Jamie has had five major reconstructive surgeries lasting over 24 hours each," said Mrs. Shaw, and "is facing at least three more years of surgery."

"I remember her telling me in the hospital one day, 'Mom, I'm lucky. That person over there is paralyzed and will never walk again. I'm sure glad it was only my face.' "

This isn't the first time the Shaw family, of Eldersburg, has had a need for blood. A tubular pregnancy in 1979 caused Mrs. Shaw to hemorrhage, and she needed 21 pints of blood. Her mother required 18 pints of blood during surgery.

"We're a blood family," she said with a laugh.

Jamie returned last fall to Liberty High School, where she is a junior and captain of the cheerleading squad as well as an honor student. She eventually plans to study psychology at the University of Michigan after graduation next year.

In an effort to draw a crowd, radio station WPOC has planned a daylong series of appearances by their on-air personalities and dance lessons by country dance instructors Jim and Mindy Ratliffe.

"We're hoping to have 500 to 600 people," said Mrs. Shaw. "And while they wait to donate blood, they can enjoy the entertainment.

"My goal is to get at least 300 pints during the drive," said Mrs. Shaw.

Mrs. Shaw said her family donates blood all year long.

Even her co-workers at the inn are chipping in.

"Our staff of 50 will be cooking barbecue, pit beef, hamburgers and hot dogs as well as donating blood," she declared.

Mrs. Shaw will be joined by Jamie and her other two daughters, Trisha, 15, and April, 12, who will provide baby-sitting.

Information: (410) 764-7000, Ext. 599.

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