Of the thousands of deliveries that Dr. Tami Rowen has handled as an OBGYN, Emily Peters' was one of the most unique.
"And not for good reasons," said Rowen.
While giving birth to her daughter Lucy in August 2016, Peters suffered from disseminated intravascular coagulation, which led to extreme bleeding. A transfusion of 90 units of blood was needed to save her life.
More than a year and a half later, Peters, a brand strategist in San Francisco, had a rare opportunity: a gathering to meet and give thanks to individual donors whose blood saved her life.
"In the blood industry, we rarely get the opportunity that we're having today," said Nicole Anderson, regional director for Blood Centers of the Pacific.
An event held at UCSF Mission Bay was the culmination of Peters' search to track down her 32 donors. She navigated privacy hurdles, sent out letters and waited.
"Unfortunately people don’t think about saying thank you when they receive blood products," said Peters. "Usually it's at a time in your life when something horrible is happening."
One by one, five donors were called to the stage, where Peters waited with a big hug and words of thanks.
"I thought a lot about how much I would cry today and I think I did okay," said Peters after the ceremony. "But it’s such an emotional experience, I think every person here was crying at one point."
Organizers of the event hoped it would encourage people to donate, with the knowledge that their blood could be used to save a life.
"I’ve been donating platelets and blood since the early 80’s and you never get to meet anyone," said David Baker, one of Peters' donors. "Everyone is deserving, but she’s especially deserving."