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It’s not easy to catch Marian Roering at home. Even her kids, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have a hard time tracking her down. You’re more likely to find Roering out with poppy cards asking for donations to support the local Veteran’s Administration Hospital or at the grocery store picking up ice cream, cookies and sandwich fixings for the picnics, parties, concerts and bingo games she helps plan for the hospital patients and staff. “I like being on the move!” Roering says. “I’m not one to sit around. I’ll be 78 years old in August and I tell everyone, including my kids who complain when they can’t find me that I’m not going to sit at home and get old!” Roering loves to volunteer. And that’s fortunate for the American Red Cross. She’s helped out with blood drives for 15 years. “It makes me feel good to be out with people. I feel so fortunate that I’m able to help out,” she says. Up until last July, Roering thought she couldn’t give blood because of her diabetes. “For 77 years, you know I’d never given it a thought,” she said. “Because I have diabetes and am on medication, I always thought I could never donate blood. But I didn’t know. I’d just believed what other people said all those years. There was a blood shortage last summer and our usual blood drive time was moved up a couple months. I was volunteering in the canteen as usual and I just thought, ‘What the heck. They need blood. I’m just going to try and donate. The worst thing they can do is say no.’ So I told my friend Jan Benson who was coordinating the drive that I was going to talk with the nurse and she said, ‘Go ahead. Check it out.’ So I did. I told them about my diabetes and when they said I could donate I asked if I was too old. They just started chuckling at me! For the first time in my life, at age 77 I got up and donated blood.” Benson remembers the incident well. “After donating that first time, Marian was thrilled! At our next drive we learned our goal had been increased from 50 to 70 pints. I thought we’d never even make 50 much less 70. But donors kept coming through the door and then, here comes Marian! Ready to donate for her second time. And after she donated and had a snack, she began helping in the canteen and helped clean up after the drive ended. We exceeded even the increased goal at that drive and collected 72 pints of blood!” Roering’s energetic volunteer spirit and generous blood donations are appreciated by the American Red Cross and blood recipients throughout the region. “Before my husband passed on,” said Roering, “he would tell the kids that they shouldn’t get upset with me for all the volunteering I did, because they had no idea how good it felt when you were in the hospital to have someone come up and ask how you’re feeling or if you wanted to play a game of cards. You feel good when you can make someone smile. And now that I’m able to give blood – it’s so easy. Giving blood makes me feel so good, because I know I’m helping someone else.”
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