October 11 in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1948, the Long Beach Independent ran a human interest story under the attention-grabbing headline of “Free Blood Keeps Her Alive.”

Helen Black, Mrs. Arilla Phillips and Red Cross volunteer, Edna Lipman

The story was about 52 year-old Seal Beach widow Mrs. Arilla Phillips of 1305 Electric Avenue. In November 1947, she had been diagnosed as suffering from aplastic anemia –the first case of this rare condition in Long Beach and the vicinity, according to Dr. H.E. Bicknell of Seaside Hospital. Mrs. Phillips had a rare blood type only found in one out of 80 people, which made the blood transfusions she needed to stay alive too expensive.

Lucky for Mrs. Phillips,  blood donors for the Long Beach chapter of the Red Cross were able to provide what she needed free of charge. “As long as I can get free blood through the Red Cross I get along fine. I could never have purchased the blood I need at commercial rates totaling $1725 up to this time.” The previous week, she had received her 69th transfusion.

– Michael Dobkins


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