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Red Cross blood donor reaches 10-gallon milestone, helps save scores of lives

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Brenda Necaise, of Long Beach Mississippi, recently reached her 10-gallon blood donation milestone with the American Red Cross.

Her first donation was in 1982, after she heard a radio-appeal for blood donors in response to a local workplace explosion that sent several to the hospital. A call from her mother confirmed that one of those injured was Necaise’s neighbor, although she did not know him personally. Right then and there, she decided to drive over to the Red Cross blood collection center located on Fernwood Road in Biloxi. Since then, Necaise has tried to donate blood every 56 days with the exception of a 24-month hiatus due to a bout of anemia. 

Necaise is humble about reaching the milestone, but at a time when the Red Cross is experiencing an increased need for blood, she realizes the importance of continued giving.

“It just takes a little bit of time to donate blood and it means helping save a life,” Necaise said. “It’s a special feeling knowing you’re making such a difference.”

Right now, blood products are being distributed to hospitals as quickly as donations are coming in. To prevent a shortage and ensure an adequate blood supply for patients the rest of the summer, the Red Cross especially needs blood donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative.

“I remember the day Liz Gaulke with Red Cross Blood Services told me that three lives could potentially be saved with one pint of blood through its platelets, plasma and red blood cells,” said Necaise. “It made me feel just awesome.”

Knowing she is truly making a difference in the lives of others strengthens Necaise’s resolve and commitment to donate. “Every time I give, I feel I’ve saved a life,” said Necaise. She also encourages others to donate. “I’m 60 years old and if I can do it, you can do it, too,” Necaise tells others with a smile. 

For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org.