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There are two sides to Laddie Jankura’s association with the American Red Cross. Since 1964, he has been a regular blood donor. But that all changed about seven years ago when he became a blood recipient. “I was scheduled to give blood at the Holy Name of Jesus Church in Henderson, Ky.,” Laddie remembered. “During that week, I was told by my doctor to take some medication to reduce swelling in my knee. But my reaction to the medication was severe and resulted in me being admitted to the hospital. I received two units of blood.” But convincing eligible and infrequent donors to become regular donors is difficult. “It has to be a priority to that person,” said Laddie. “You have to just put it on your calendar. I think for some people, all of a sudden, it becomes an issue and then you see how easy it is to do.” Laddie is close to reaching a milestone of becoming a 14-gallon donor. “I started [giving blood] when I lived in Ohio (Cleveland) and I’d leave my night job baking all night and then go donate blood,” he says. “We all are not all inclined or able to be in the medical field and save lives,” said Laddie. “But we all can help save lives by donating the ‘Gift of Life.’ It only takes about an hour.” And, for Laddie, that message is especially important. “You can never tell when you might need the gift of life,” Laddie said.
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