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100 Priceless Gifts, in Pints

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For the past few decades…it’s safe to say, 66-year-old David Messenger has been on the American Red Cross radar.  That…and its speed dial.

Messenger pictured with his 100th pint of blood following his recent donation. Photo courtesy David Messenger.

“I’ve been giving blood regularly for the past 45 years,” Messenger smiled.  “My dad was a donor so donating was, ‘in my blood’ so to speak.  I started as a sophomore in college at the age of 19.  I had a co-worker who needed blood, and I figured I’d donate a pint to show my support for him.” Little did he know that pint…given back in the 1960’s would soon multiply into dozens of blood drive trips. “I just kind of looked for them,” Messenger explained.  “Been pretty much everywhere to give blood–churches, malls, hospitals, schools, even gave blood overseas while living in Australia.”

Messenger’s blood type is O positive—the most common according to the American Red Cross.  Recently, it’s been in the headlines due to a large shortage in itsRed Cross blood supply.

“It tends to happen in the summer,” said Ben Corey, external communications manager for the Red Cross Heart of America Blood Services Region.  “Many people take vacations, are out of school–schedules fluctuate.  But, we’re now asking donors who haven’t donated, and those who are eligible again, to make an appointment to give now to help ensure blood products are available for patients.”

“Blood is essential,” added Messenger. “Since it’s broken down into parts, be it plasma…red cells…platelets…up to three lives can be saved with one donation.” Through the years Messenger has saved a lot of lives, and recently reached a major milestone.

A few weeks ago, I gave my 100th pint of blood,” he smiled.  “One hundred pints or 12.5 gallons depending on how I look at it.  Only took me nearly five decades to achieve!”

Most people never know where their blood goes once it’s donated.  But in a few serendipitous moments, Messenger’s been privy to the impact of his gift.

“When I was a student in the X-Ray department at an Indiana hospital, I saw my unit of blood be administered to a patient staying there.  Kind of affirming…knowing someone so close by would be helped.  Another time, I learned my blood had been shipped to a children’s hospital in Chicago because it had an antigen they needed.”

100th unit close up

With each person he’s helped…Messenger’s good deeds aren’t going unnoticed. “His effort isn’t only impressive, it’s inspiring,” said Corey.  “One hundred pints of blood means potentially hundreds of people have been saved.  His commitment to give not only serves as an example for our Red Cross donors, but to our volunteers and the community as well.” So after all that giving…what’s next for Messenger?  Well, sharing the good will of course.

“I plan to stay active with the cause, and continue volunteering,” he said.  “I want others to know how important it is to give, and encourage them to donate.  Repay blood with blood.  If the Red Cross needs me, well…they know how to find me.”

How to Give:  Visit redcrossblood.org, download the American Red Cross free Blood Donor App or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information.

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