Orland Park cancer survivor becomes blood donation advocate after devastating diagnosis

ORLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- An Orland Park woman says she wants to focus on helping other the way they helped her after a devastating diagnosis.

"I just didn't feel like something was right, so I went to the emergency room," Marie Fuesel recalled.

Fuesel was diagnosed with leukemia, but after receiving nearly 100 transfusions she can now say she is living as a survivor. There is nothing stopping her from loving the life she has now and spending it dedicated to helping others.

"So that's when they told me, 'You have leukemia. Blood cancer,'" Fuesel said. "It was, to be honest, it was like the Charlie Brown show when the doctor was talking. Everything was in slow motion and I could not even process the words coming out of her mouth."

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Over the next few months Fuesel went through chemotherapy. During those treatments she often needed transfusions of blood and platelets, which were the key to helping her get through chemo and beat her cancer.

"There were so many people that helped me," she said. "There were so many people that donated blood and I would not be alive if it weren't for their generosity."

Today she remains cancer free, and focuses on helping others by being an advocate for blood donation and giving her time any way she can.

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"I can never donate blood again. When something gets taken away from you, you get angry. You want to donate and I can't," she said. "There are so many people that helped me and they are strangers. I can never thank them and I can never pay them back, so all I can to is pay it forward and ask people to donate."

If you are interested in being a donor, you'll have a chance at this year's ABC 7 Great Chicago Blood Drive. The drive will be held on January 15. For more information or to make an appointment, CLICK HERE.
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