Woman honors late husband by hosting blood drives that help others

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Judy Kolish organizes multiple blood drives each year, which she does to honor her late husband who battled health issues. (WLS)

Judy Kolish organizes multiple blood drives each year, which she does to honor her late husband who battled health issues and was helped by blood donors when he needed it most.

"I think for me it's keeping his memory alive. We had a great life, we did a lot of things despite all the challenges we had. I really believe that it's important that people understand that blood is not something people can manufacture it had to be donated though people," said Judy Kolish, a volunteer blood drive coordinator.

Her husband, Bob Kolish, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma at the age of 17. His diagnosis was the first of many health troubles he faced in his life. The diagnosis was followed by chemo, radiation, a bone marrow transplant and, later in life, a five-organ transplant.

"He never had a day that was good while he was there for nine months and a lot of health challenges, clotting and different things that required blood, transplant required a lot of blood," Kolish said.

She adds: "I know the transplant probably required about 200 pints and that doesn't include all of his life when there were various times when he needed blood so it was tough."

After her husband passed, Judy Kolish made it her goal to give back what was given to him.

"He himself has done a lot of good in his life and a lot of people have done some good things by stepping up and donating organs or giving him blood when he needed it," she said.

And since she can't donate herself for health reasons, Kolish hosts two blood drives a year at her job.

"I've always encouraged others to donate. So then when I had the opportunity at the workplace to make this occur then it was a greater opportunity than just me donating anyway because I've opened the door now to our employees and out tenants and it's a good thing," she said.

Kolish has been hosting drives for more than a decade, keeping her husband's memory alive and helping others at the same time.

The ABC 7 Great Chicago Blood Drive will be held Jan. 10 at two locations -- Merchandise Mart, 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza in Chicago; and at the Drake Oak Brook Hotel, 2301 York Rd. in Oak Brook. Hours at both sites are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Register by calling 1-800-Red-Cross or by downloading the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org (enter sponsor code: "ABC7Chicago")

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Related Topics:
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