Championing a Blood Drive

Grateful Recipient is a Blood Drive Champion

When Vacaville resident Suzanne Clark was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome in 2013, she required five treatments of a special blood product, and each one required 1,000 units of blood to produce.

Fitness Specialist Julie Casaras, left, of NorthBay HealthSpring Fitness, supports the Nov. 3 blood drive championed by Suzanne Clark.

She has never forgotten how those donations of blood made her recovery possible. That’s why she wants to pay it forward and has stepped up as a champion for a special blood drive Nov. 3 at the VacaValley Wellness Center.

Suzanne, a longtime member of Soroptimist International of Vacaville, has brought her organization forward to partner with NorthBay Healthcare and NorthBay HealthSpring Fitness in sponsoring a one-day drive, which is open to the public.

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks nerves. Its cause is unknown. It can spread quickly and cause paralysis in the entire body.

Suzanne’s illness came on out of nowhere, she says, remembering that she was in training for a 5K race. She’d lost 42 pounds and felt great. Then one day, her legs started bothering her. Her back hurt. She ended up in an emergency room where doctors recognized her symptoms and started five days of treatments that saved her life.

Suzanne, 60, spent months in a wheelchair and rehabilitation, before discovering the Movement is Medicine program at NorthBay HealthSpring Fitness, Solano County’s only medical fitness center. Though hard work with Fitness Specialist Julie Cassara, Suzanne has been able to rebuild her strength and mobility.

HealthSpring Fitness was happy to step up as a blood drive partner to support Suzanne’s goal, and is encouraging its members to consider a donation. Massage therapists will offer free five-minute chair massages to donors between 1 and 2 p.m. during the blood drive.

Sign Up Now to Donate Blood Nov. 3

The blood drive begins at 9 a.m. and runs through 4 p.m. in the conference facility on the first floor of the VacaValley Wellness Center, 1020 Nut Tree Road. Enter through the HealthSpring Fitness lobby.

Donors are encouraged to book an appointment in advance online, and thus save themselves from having to wait. Visit and enter location code H101. Walk-ins will also be welcome. Donors are advised to eat and drink before donating blood and to bring a photo ID.

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