Rayna Whitright's story touched many people. Following routine knee surgery, the Redmond woman nearly died from two blood clots and numerous complications. She underwent 12 surgeries...

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Rayna Whitright‘s story touched many people.

Following routine knee surgery, the Redmond woman nearly died from two blood clots and numerous complications. She underwent 12 surgeries at Overlake Hospital Medical Center and spent 90 days in critical care. She was in the hospital from July 19 to Dec. 14.

Early in the five-month ordeal, her husband, Scott, created a Web site (www.whitright.net) to keep friends, family and co-workers informed about Rayna’s status. People wanted to donate money, so Scott came up with a creative way for people to decide how much to give. He equated donations to what the couple typically spends on food, from lattes to their anniversary dinner at the Metropolitan Grill — their favorite splurge restaurant.

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When managers at the Metropolitan Grill learned about Rayna in the Dec. 15 Seattle Times’ front-page story, they were inspired. They arranged for a blood drive in Rayna’s name to help replace the 150 transfusions she had.

The Seattle restaurant and Puget Sound Blood Center will hold the drive from 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 12:30-2:30 p.m. tomorrow. Give a pint of blood and your lunch entree will be free.

Scott was surprised by the plan.

“Wow!” he said. “That’s wonderful. This has been going on so long that people who donated early have already donated a second time in Rayna’s name.”

They still have more than 100 pints to go to totally replace what Rayna was given.

Because the couple live in a split-level home, and she isn’t able to walk without crutches or a walker, they went to a hotel when she was discharged from Overlake. Rayna’s one wish was to be home for Christmas.

The couple did get to their house briefly on Christmas, but didn’t move back permanently until Dec. 29. One delay was outfitting the house. Scott had grab bars installed throughout the lower level.

“We’re living in the basement. It’s a pretty big, open room,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where we live. If we’re together, we can be anywhere in the world.”

Planting spring thoughts

Lori Taylor said the Bellevue Farmers Market will return in 2005.

Taylor, who last year launched the weekly open-air market in the First Presbyterian Church parking lot, went to a recent Bellevue City Council meeting. She thanked the council members and the city staff for their support during the market season.

She reported that 38 small family farms sold produce and farm products each Thursday, and more than 13,000 people visited during the market’s 19-week run. Participating farmers also donated 6,025 pounds of produce to Hopelink’s Bellevue Food Bank.

“After my little three minute speech, I decided to hang around and listen to the meeting,” Taylor said via e-mail. “Much to my surprise, the Bellevue Farmers Market was on the agenda and the hours of 3-7 [p.m.] were approved.”

Taylor had applied several months ago for the change in hours, so people could shop on their way home from work.

Bookie pushes reading

Chapple Langemack wants people to enjoy reading books.

One way Langemack, the managing librarian at the Bellevue Regional Library, encourages people to read more is by reminding them they don’t have to finish books they don’t like.

Too often, she said, people feel guilty about putting down a book. Her solution? Permission to stop. She sometimes issues “Get Out of This Book Free” cards.

And, she said, that’s one library card that never expires.

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633 or sgrindeland@seattletimes.com