Regular blood donor saves his own life during recent donation

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- A man has donated blood for years, but the last trip to give blood turned out to be the one that saved his own life. He was surely surprised by the recent diagnosis.

A lot of people give blood through the Oklahoma Blood Institute, and sometimes when a person donates they not only save the life of someone else but their own life as well.

"I was basically within 48 hours of not making it," Mark Koss says.

That was last year when Mark Koss went to give blood. He had been a donor for years.

"I was a donor; a regular donor," Koss explains.

But that all changed the day Mark went to donate and his iron levels were low; so low he couldn't give blood.

He began taking iron tablets but it didn't work.

Further testing showed his kidneys were also shutting down. He was close to death and he underwent treatment by receiving blood from six different donors.

Now Mark's back at the Oklahoma Blood Institute. He's not giving blood to save another life; he's here to save his.

"We're harvesting stem cells," Koss says.

He was diagnosed with blood cancer and is harvesting stem cells for a marrow transplant next week in hopes of a cure.

The process takes hours and surprisingly he's still able to tell his story during the procedure.

"If you're dealt a basket of lemons you make lemonade. That's all there is to it," Koss explains.

And if anything, he wants others to donate blood like he once did.

Mark Koss says, "I'm going to survive this thing, and I'm going to make it through."

Mark credits donating blood to saving his life. He says had he not been a donor he would have never found out he was sick.