Blood donation is deeply rooted by three generations of blood donors

By Laura McGuire, American Red Cross

The American Red Cross has a constant need for blood and platelet donations. When anyone steps up to donate lifesaving blood it is truly impressive, but when the action spreads over three generations it’s amazing.

Ed and Joanne Schmidt have been regular blood donors since the 1970’s and they donate blood as often as they can. Ed just surpassed his 25th gallon milestone and Joanne has given close to four gallons. The Schmidt’s three adult children and their spouses roll up a sleeve frequently, and most recently, their granddaughter, Gabrielle, who is a senior in high school, began to donate blood – making it truly a family affair.   

“We have always been motivated to donate blood for our family and friends,” said Joanne Schmidt. Many years ago, her mother had pancreatic cancer and required blood transfusions. “It is such a wonderful thing to be able to give blood. It is very rewarding to give back and it gives you a very warm and satisfying feeling just thinking your blood went to help save another person’s life.”

Every day, volunteer blood and platelet donors across the country are needed to help save lives. Blood donors of all ethnicities and blood types are needed to ensure the right blood product is available at the right time.

“If anyone is ever in doubt of donating blood, they should just think about all the lives they could be helping,” said Schmidt. “It doesn’t take very long and is painless. You should never hesitate to give. The Red Cross is such a wonderful organization that does so much for so many people and families who are in need. This world is such a better place with the help from the Red Cross!”

A blood donation appointment takes about an hour from start to finish, but the actual donation itself only takes about 8 to 10 minutes. In most states, individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. There is no upper age limit for blood donation as long as you are well with no restrictions or limitations to your activities.

Eligible individuals are encouraged to schedule a blood or platelet donation appointment by using the Red Cross Blood Donor app, visiting or calling 800- RED-CROSS (800-733-2767).

 Pictured left to right – Ed, Gabrielle and Brian Schmidt – family of three generations of blood donors who frequently donates blood at the Red Cross Watertown Community Blood Drive.  

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