I come from a family of Red Cross blood donors so, while still in high school, I eagerly awaited my opportunity to donate on my 18th birthday. For me it was a rite of passage and one of many benchmarks on the path to adulthood. On the day of my first blood donation I made a personal commitment to give 20 gallons of blood in my lifetime. I did a little math in my head, figuring a maximum of 5 donations per year, and realized that by the time I completed the goal of 160 pints, I would be an old lady. When you're 18 you can't really get your head around being that old and you sure don't want to spend too much time thinking about it, so I just went on with my life donating blood as often and possible. Time marched on and now I am an old lady, although sometimes I still feel like that 18 year old. I still have the goal, (I missed a few opportunities along the way) so it's taken a bit longer than my original calculations, but I'm still pushing toward the goal and am so thankful every day that I'm healthy enough to give. This afternoon I will donate my 145th pint of blood.... Let's see that leaves 15 pints, maximum donations 5 per year ... Hummm, I guess I'll get my first social security check before I finish this goal. Oh well, I've enjoyed the journey and the opportunity to donate. I've never forgotten that I'm the one blessed enough to be on the giving end of this blood exchange rather than the receiving end. I hope and pray that everyone who has received my blood has been as blessed receiving it as I have been giving it.