Candy lady gives thanks at blood drives

Candy lady gives thanks at blood drives
CANDY LADY — Marilee Stott of Choteau presents a candy kiss to Merrill Hawley during the American Red Cross blood drive Thursday at the Moose Lodge. I-O Photo by Buck Traxler
   You sit in a chair with a needle in your arm pumping out the very existence of life; blood.
   All of a sudden there is brilliant woman flashing a warm smile offering you a chocolate candy kiss and her heartfelt gratitude for donating blood.
   Marilee Stott, age 47, is a lady with a mission: to give thanks to those who give blood.
   Her reason for this is simple. She is a leukemia cancer survivor.
   She recalled that when she first became sick, she thought she had come down with the flu, but testing quickly changed that.
   The first year after her diagnosis Stott had a bone marrow transplant, however, her red blood cells failed to replicate more red blood cells.
   Her body began to shut down and she needed a fresh supply of blood into her system. “I have a passion for blood donors. Without them I wouldn’t have survived,” she said.
   Stott goes to one or two blood drives a month in the Golden Triangle to thank those that donate the “gift of life.”
   She has made a trip to Salt Lake City on her mission because originally that was where her first blood came from.
   Her journey to remain cancer free continues. In the mean time, she and her husband operate a ranch near Choteau.
   The couple have eight children and Stott expects to be a first-time grandmother in February, thanks to those that provide the endowment of being – blood.