Eha Laanbek, 56, needed a transfusion on 27 January 2009 and today she considers that date to be her second birthday.

After a minor gynaecological procedure at Hiiumaa Hospital, Eha experienced internal bleeding. Her health deteriorated over a short period of time, reaching a critical condition, and she was airlifted to Mustamäe Regional Hospital in Tallinn. Fortunately, it had a happy ending, thanks to efforts by doctors and donors. To doctors’ amazement, Eha’s first question was whether she could still be a donor. The answer: yes, but not right away.

Later Eha learned that the first donor who helped her out was the nursing director of Hiiumaa Hospital, Riina Tamm. Eha sees Riina as having saved her life and remains very grateful to her. The two women had a chance to meet face to face and Eha got to thank her in person. Eha has indeed made good on her pledge to become a donor and has now given blood 39 times. And if she doesn’t happen to be in Hiiumaa when the Blood Centre comes around, she has given blood in Tallinn.

Eha says she started seeing the world completely differently after her medical crisis and that life means more to her now. In 2013, she contacted a personal coach and dietician, who helped her lose 20 kg and she has remained at her ideal weight since. Her key signs improved, her blood pressure is now within normal and she exercises actively, running her first half-marathon last fall.


Eha confirms that she has more energy: “Age is just a number in your passport, I glow and take pleasure in life!” she enthuses, adding: “I’d like to see more people my age enjoying life, having more energy and will to live a full-fledged life. I have a high regard for donorship, because you never know when you might be needing blood as happened with me.”