Features

A giving soul in the local community

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

There is a saying that people should do nothing out of selfish ambition or out of vain conceit. Rather, in humility they should value others above themselves.

A giving couple: La Habra residents Pete and Lorna Badame share a smile. Lorna has donated more than 370 units of platelets to the City of Hope in Duarte to help cancer patients.
A giving couple: La Habra residents Pete and Lorna Badame share a smile. Lorna has donated more than 370 units of platelets to the City of Hope in Duarte to help cancer patients.

La Habra resident Lorna Badame lives that belief.
For the last 21 years, Badame has traveled to the City of Hope in Duarte to donate her platelets  to help cancer patients.  She has given more than 370 units of platelets and continues to donate.
“I just like helping people,” Badame explained.
She started donating in 1993, after her daughter Cyndi was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia.  She survived and has been in remission for 28 years.
“She found out 10 days before her sixteenth birthday,” Badame said.  “They said she had a 50-50 chance of not having children.  Now she’s the mother of two teenagers.”
Cyndi was treated at Children’s Hospital of Orange County, and while Lorna donates to the City of Hope, she helps support CHOC too. For the last 20 years  she has participated in the annual CHOC Walk, and raises between $1,500 – $3,200 for the hospital each year.
However, her biweekly commitment to the City of Hope is something that she continues to hold dear to her heart.  Even though her daughter has long since recovered, Lorna continues to make the trip.
But she is not alone.  Her husband Pete drives Lorna to and from each of her visits.  The process can take up to three hours each visit.  Pete admitted they have a system.
“I drive her and when she is getting the procedure, I go do the laundry,” Pete said.
“Sometimes he’ll treat me by taking me to Sprouts on the way home,” Lorna added with a slight chuckle.
The Badames don’t stop with donating.  The two are active members of the Lions Club and Elks Lodge in La Habra.  Pete is also active with the American Legion and various other groups in the community.  Lorna has also donated her time to help at the Gary Center, The Boys and Girls Club and Help for Brain Injured Children.
Lorna, 65, added that she knows that it’s important for people like her, who are able to donate, do so and to such a dedicated place.
“The City of Hope does such marvelous things,”  she said.   She added that one of the reasons she donates is to help places like City of Hope that treat cancer patients, defray the cost of some of the needed supplies.
She explained that only about 45 percent of blood and blood products are donated.
The rest they have to purchase from places like the Red Cross.
She added that they can cost anywhere from $300-3,000 a unit.  “Since I can’t afford to donate financially, then this is the best way for me to do it,” she said.
Platelets are blood cells whose function is to control bleeding.  These platelets are needed by cancer patients who are going through treatment because their bodies are unable to produce enough to maintain their health.
Because cancer patients aren’t able to take in the amount of whole blood needed to replenish the platelets, the donor’s blood must be broken down.
The donation process includes what is called apheresis where the blood is drawn out and run through a centrifuge that takes out the platelets and a little plasma and sends it to the donor bag.  The remaining blood is then returned back to the donor.
Since only part of the blood is removed, there is less recovery time needed.  Lorna explained that she is limited to 24 times a year.
She will reach 400 units donated sometime in 2016. That would make Lorna only the second person to donate that many units.
But if you ask her, she doesn’t see that number as a stopping point.
“I want to keep going,” she said with a humble smile.  “I’ll keep donating as long as I can.”

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.