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Donor Stories

 

When reporters interview someone who has passed the 100 year mark, one question always arises: what’s the secret to longevity? 101-year-old Blanche Baudhuin of Wisconsin had a pretty simple answer for WBAY News in Green Bay: “Don’t sit around and mope. Keep busy and do something.” As a Red Cross volunteer of 40 years, Blanche knows what she’s talking about.

This long-time advocate for blood donation spends about 24 hours a month staffing the registration desk at the Red Cross Green Bay Blood Donation Center. In 2016, she devoted her 100th birthday party to a blood drive. In 2017, she did the same, inspiring her community to give back in her honor. Both events brought in an incredible number of blood donations, as well as positive press. But these parties were really just the natural extension of what Blanche has done, quietly and steadily, for over four decades.

Back in 2012, when she was 96, Blanche told the Green Bay Press-Gazette about her work with the Red Cross, saying, “I just love it. I hate to think of the day I can’t volunteer anymore.” When Blanche’s husband died many years ago, she decided she “had to do something to keep busy.” At first, she volunteered making quilts and helping cook Thanksgiving dinners for the needy in her community. Then she dedicated herself to the Red Cross. She was a volunteer driver for Red Cross transportation services, and also worked at local blood drives well into her nineties.

In fact, Blanche has been with the Red Cross for so long that she experienced firsthand the organization’s transition to a computerized system. While she hadn’t owned a computer herself and felt a bit intimidated, she learned how to input blood donor information into a computer the volunteers nicknamed “Susie.”

Today, at 101, Blanche still works hard to make sure the Red Cross in Wisconsin has enough blood on its shelves to serve and help save patients. She gets tired sometimes, but Blanche says her work with blood donors keeps her active and full of life.

At 101 (and a few months), Blanche gives her time and her heart to help people in need. And she knows very well the importance of the blood donors that she checks into her computer. A robust blood supply is necessary to help save lives in every region, in every state, around the clock, whether in the dry heat of a desert summer or the frigid cold of a Wisconsin winter.

Volunteers like Blanche remind us that the need for donated blood, platelets, and plasma never ceases. Few people can match what Blanche has done for the Red Cross, but each of us can commit to do our own small part to help.

 

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—The Incredible 101-Year-Old Volunteer
 

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What's Happening

Come out to give blood or platelets May 26-30 and get a Red Cross visor, while supplies last
 

News

May 15, 2017
Get ready to Rock ‘N Roll Up Your Sleeve with the American Red Cross, Omaha’s Greatest Hits 99.9 KGOR and WOWT NBC Omaha. Now in its 24th year, the longest-running special event blood drive in the Red Cross Midwest Blood Services Region returns this year with two opportunities to give...
May 9, 2017
Ellie Miller sees the effect of blood donation firsthand. As a radiologic technologist, patient care is her favorite part of her job. To honor her patients and others in need of blood transfusions, she forgoes a party and presents on her birthday and instead throws an American Red Cross blood drive...
 

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