On July 19, 2013, the Cape Fear Chapter of the American Red Cross recognized long-time blood donor, 79-year-old, Carole Bryant, as she donated her 399th unit of blood which brought her to a life-time total of 50 gallons. Staff and volunteers presented her with a 50 gallon donor pin marking this huge accomplishment that few donors across the country have achieved.
Alongside Bryant that day were her daughter and three grandchildren, also blood donors, who supported their grandmother by staying to donate in honor of her achievement.
“She has definitely been my inspiration to donate,” said Tauriq Watson, Bryant’s grandson, a student at Duke University. “I’m really proud of everything she does to help others.”
Donors can give blood every 56 days. Bryant reached 50 gallons by donating consistently about every two months for more than 60 years. Her blood donations throughout the years have potentially saved more than a thousand lives.
“I don’t really remember when I started donating, maybe in my late teens or early 20’s, probably around the time I joined the Air Force,” recalled Bryant. “Once I started, I just never stopped.”
Bryant, originally from New York, now donates about four times a year at the Wilmington Blood Donor Center. Blood donations from Bryant and other local donors are used in patients at Cape Fear area hospitals like New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
“I’m not sure what first inspired me,” said Bryant. “I’m a giver and I know that this is something that can help people, to save someone’s life.”
And, Bryant doesn’t stop giving. She didn’t stick around long after her donation because she was off to one of her many volunteer jobs in the community.
The American Red Cross has been collecting blood since the 1940’s and now supplies
approximately 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply. Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood; a single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood. Thanks to generous blood donors, the Red Cross helps ensure that blood is available before emergencies.
Anyone interested in donating blood can visit redcrossblood.org or call 910-254-GIVE to schedule an appointment.