By Patrick O'Neill
January 26, 2017
This past Thursday, I was a blood donor at the Red Cross Blood Drive at St. Mary, Mother of the Church, Catholic parish on Vandora Springs Road. Blood is a precious commodity, and giving it is not for the faint of heart. Whenever I give a pint of my life blood I tease the Red Cross staff, calling them “Blood Suckers” and “Count (or Countess) Draculas.”
I also say, “I’d rather go to jail than give blood.” That being said, I do it anyway because I am blessed with a healthy body, and I know from my volunteering at Wake Med that blood is what saves people’s lives during trauma. When the Red Cross folks say: “Give Blood – Save a Life,” they mean it.
Last year I e-mailed the Red Cross, asking how much blood I have collectively given over the years, and they told me I was right at four gallons. I was self-impressed ... that is until I spoke with my friend, Terry Duff, who has lived in Garner for 21 years and attends St. Mary.
I knew Duff was a serious blood donor. He often wears Red Cross T-shirts, and he has a Red Cross “Super Donor” medallion on his key chain that guarantees his keys, if ever lost, will be returned to him thanks to the Red Cross serial number on the medallion.
So, what is the total amount of blood you have given? I asked Duff: “Just a shade less than 30,” he said. That’s gallons – not pints! In more than 50 years of donating blood, Duff, 69, said he has gone to the Red Cross faithfully, usually every eight weeks (the time period the Red Cross requires between donations) to give up another pint of his B-positive blood.
To give some perspective to Duff’s level of commitment, he estimates he has donated blood about 240 times. Since a pint of blood weighs a little more than a pound, that means he has donated more than 250 pounds of blood over a half century.
Ironically, Duff does not donate at St. Mary’s Blood Drive, which is held three times a year. Because he gives every eight weeks like clockwork, he has to go to Red Cross headquarters in Raleigh to donate on his schedule, which usually happens on what he calls, “My donation Thursdays.”
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