Old Mission Santa Ynez is hosting a Blood Drive to support Jim Usher, a young husband and father who has just undergone a liver transplant at Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles on May 31st. During this extensive procedure the hospital has used over 200 units of blood so those close to Usher are trying to give back as much as possible.
The “Blood Mobile” will be at the Old Mission Santa Ynez from 3 – 6 p.m. on Tuesday May 31st. Appointments are necessary.
Usher grew up in Carpenteria and his wife Roxanne grew up in Santa Ynez. They met while attending Cal Poly and were married May 1996. They lived in Gardnerville, Nevada from 1995-2013 before moving back to Santa Ynez to be near family.
While living in Nevada, Usher was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Tumors in the pancreas in November 2011. The cancer metastasized into his liver. After various treatments, including surgeries, procedures, and cancer suppressant drugs, to get the cancer under control, the family finally received news there was no evidence of the tumors, yet Usher’s liver had been compromised to the point of causing liver failure. This led to his recent life saving liver transplant. During surgery, the surgeons needed to use 220 units of blood product, including red blood cells, platelets, and plasma. The surgery began Mother’s Day, May 8, at 11:30 pm and lasted 13 hours ending at 12:30 pm, May 9.
“Had the kindness of strangers not been there prior to Jim’s surgery and enough blood products not been available, there could have been a very different outcome to his surgery,” Roxanne Usher said.
Upon moving back to California, long time family friends and our children’s activities found the Usher’s right in the middle of the welcoming Santa Ynez Valley community. Their son, Ethan, plays baseball and daughter, Maggie, plays softball and both kids compete in High School Rodeo (CHSRA – District 7 – Usher was also was a member of CHSRA D7 as a senior in high school). The members of SYHS Pirate baseball/softball community and SYHS teachers/staff, as well as the parish at Old Mission Santa Ines, and the school where Roxanne teaches, Santa Ynez Valley Charter School, have been so supportive throughout this past year which has proven to be the most difficult.
“Due to the amount of blood used during Jim’s surgery, we found that there is always a need for blood donations. Our goal is to raise awareness of this life saving gift that many people can give,” she added.
SYHS Pirate baseball families have already made donations at a blood donation facility in Santa Maria, organized by Joe Padilla, and Joann Taylor has organized a blood drive through Old Mission Santa Ines for Tuesday, May 31st, through a Santa Barbara facility. These blood drives do not directly impact their family, nor will Cedars Sinai Hospital receive blood product from these drives, but the Usher’s believe what has come around must go around.
“We are working with Cedars Sinai Blood Services to conduct a blood drive in the future, possibly end of July or August for their mobile unit to travel to the Santa Ynez Valley. We would need approximately 100 donors to make the trip worth their while. This would give people the opportunity to donate blood at both drives since a donor needs to wait eight weeks before donating blood again, according to The American Red Cross,” Roxanne Usher said.
A little follow up on how Jim is doing post surgery. The doctors are every pleased with how his body is working with the new liver. While set backs are to be expected and minor ones have happened, Jim continues to improve every day and continues to regain his strength.
“We hope he will be accepted into the acute rehab facility here at Cedars Sinai within the next week which will allow him to receive intense physical therapy while still being monitored by his doctors,” she added.
“Our gratitude for everyone’s kind words of support and our wishes are to keep the blood donors the organ donor’s family in everyone’s thoughts and prayers too. We really appreciate it as we know it is through their kindness that Jim has received the most precious gift of life,” Roxanne Usher said.