Cancer Survivor, Blood Donation Supporter
Receiving the transfusion helped me appreciate that blood donations were not just for rare and extreme life-threatening situations, but also needed for chronic and quality-of-life conditions.
Sean Murphy first donated blood at a mobile drive at St. Xavier High School in the mid-90s. After donating, he recalled being a bit tired, but felt “much more enlivened knowing that he just helped someone live, or at least live better.”
The tables turned for Murphy in 2019, when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, finding himself on the receiving end and in need of blood transfusions.
“I had donated a couple of times prior to my transfusion, but receiving the transfusion helped me appreciate that blood donations were not just for rare and extreme life-threatening situations, but also needed for chronic and quality-of-life conditions,” said Murphy, a Finneytown native who now lives and works in downtown Cincinnati with his wife.
Murphy underwent chemotherapy treatments that killed off his red blood cells “to the point where I had to stop just to catch my breath after walking, my heart was straining to serve my body,” he said. “The transfusion increased my comfort and energy levels while fighting cancer.”
Cancer, he said, interrupted a dream. Murphy was preparing to compete in Ireland at a Lacrosse World Cup tournament. After 20 years of representing Ireland (as a dual citizen) in international competition, this would have been his last tournament. “Although primarily a goaltender,” Murphy said, “I have played every position for Ireland at some point in my career.”
After a blood transfusion “helped my body cope as the chemotherapy broke it down,” he built the strength to chase his dream once again by competing in a European Lacrosse Championship summer of 2022.
Since his cancer diagnosis, Murphy, who turns age 45 on Feb. 18, can never again donate blood. He’s grateful for the gift of blood and wants to share his story to encourage others to donate, he said. “My blood type is B positive, which my family said matched my chemotherapy attitude perfectly.”
In addition to playing lacrosse, Murphy and his wife enjoy kayaking, cycling, and playing ice hockey. For less strenuous evenings, they enjoy game nights with friends and plays at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. The couple looks “forward to an upcoming career move to Ireland, where we're sure to tell everyone about the joys of Cincinnati,” he said.