Mary Lil Understands the Importance of Blood Donation

April 11, 2011



[Nashville, Tenn., April 4, 2011]—The American Red Cross is holding a blood drive in honor of local area resident Maredith Lillian “Mary Lil” Morris on Sunday, April 17.  The drive is at Reidland United Methodist Church from 11:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.


Mary Lil was born with Rh+ blood, while her mother was Rh-.  If a mother is Rh-, she may develop antibodies to an Rh+ baby.  If a small amount of the baby's blood mixes with the mother’s blood, which often happens, her body may respond as if it were allergic to the baby.[1]  It rarely affects a first pregnancy, but can affect subsequent pregnancies.  As a result, Mary Lil’s older sister, Mary Theresa, died.  But Mary Lil survived thanks to donated blood transfused to her after birth.   Mary Theresa and Mary Lil were the third and fourth children born into the family.


Today, Rh- mother-fetus incompatibility is treated during pregnancy and, again, following the baby’s birth.


Because a volunteer blood donor gave Mary Lil a chance at life, she donates blood every year on her birthday and other holidays.  She also donates blood platelets once a month.  In fact, Mary Lil is set to reach her 30 gallon blood donation mark this summer.


“When I started donating whole blood, it never occurred to me that I would ever reach 30 gallons.  I mean, a pint at a time, isn’t that 240 pints?  When I found out about platelet donation and how I could help so many more people, it was a no-brainer,” says Mary Lil.  “In addition, Mom died from brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforme), as did my uncle on my dad’s side of the family, so I know how important platelets and whole blood can be to someone with cancer.  As long as I am healthy, and my veins hold out, I will donate until they tell me I can’t or when I am six feet under.   That is just the way I was raised.”


To schedule an appointment for this blood drive or any other American Red Cross blood drive, call 1-800-RED CROSS (733-2767) or visit


Most healthy individuals who are at least 17 years of age (16 with parental consent) and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds are eligible to donate blood.  Individuals 18 years of age or younger must also meet specific height and weight requirements.


The Tennessee Valley Region serves 57 hospitals and must have 600 people donate blood or platelets each weekday to meet the needs of hospital patients. 


Photo:  Mary Lil with her son, Charles, and granddaughter, Xandra.