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Toledo man's life saved by blood transfusions

Greg Sendelbauch, of east Toledo, was diagnosed with a life-threatening blood disease -- PNH -- two years ago. Now, he's sharing his story of how his life was saved.

TOLEDO, Ohio — An east Toledo man is living his life thanks, in part, to others who took the time and effort to give blood.

Greg Sendelbauch has paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, -- PNH -- a disorder that leads to premature destruction and impaired production of blood cells. That causes issues with red blood cells that carry oxygen to the body, white blood cells that fight infections and platelets that clot blood to stop bleeding.

Greg's wife, Candy, said she knew something was wrong when he got sick in December of 2019.

"He got sick with what we thought was COVID and it darn near killed him," Candy said. "We started seeing the doctor because we were seeing some physical changes."

Those physical changes led to tests from Greg's primary care physician and a specialist from The Toledo Clinic. Doctors noticed his platelet count was low, which they thought could be a sign of internal bleeding.

Eventually, Greg was diagnosed with PNH and was told by doctors he needed blood transfusions to live. They said his body wasn’t strong enough to survive a life-saving bone marrow transplant.

Greg’s doctor ended up taking special training to prescribe and administer a rare drug.

“Now he’s consistently normal, which is great,” Candy said. “At this point, we don’t need the blood transfusions.”

Inspired by what had happened, Candy researched the American Red Cross and went on to donate blood platelets. She said it’s great to see her donations go to places like children’s hospitals to help others in need.

“You know your platelets just went to help someone fight cancer, maybe have a kid have a life," Candy said.

Candy said the treatment has helped Greg get back to normal and back to his two passions: gardening and Christmas.

Greg didn’t want to be interviewed, so WTOL 11 asked Candy what he might say: "It would be a huge thank you because he knows how precious life is."

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