“I believe that I’m now the second-highest gallon level donor in this region [Great Lakes Bay], the highest being Eldon Hall,” said Tom Baird of Bay City, MI, who recently reached the 30 gallon mark. “I donated my first pint to Michigan Blood on 12/28/1973 and have [been donating regularly] ever since. I have every donor card since the first donation.” A few months before starting to donate at Michigan Blood (then Michigan Community Blood Centers), Tom had made his first blood donation ever as a senior at Bay City Central High School, at a spring blood drive with the American Red Cross.
Tom explains that donating blood is important to him as a personal challenge as well as something he can do to save lives. “For a number of years I had several people that I knew who donated on a regular basis [and] we were having a little contest between us to see who could become the largest donor. Probably when I hit the 10 gallon mark did I then realize that donating blood was actually saving lives and helping people out right here in my community.” Today, 240 donations later, Tom says he has “an even better understanding of what each donation can do here in keeping people alive.”
“I would encourage anyone who is old enough and healthy enough to give it a try,” he says. “It doesn't take long and certainly doesn't hurt you…It does many things for you personally like telling you that you are healthy and making a difference in your community.”
“My wish and desire is to draw attention to donating blood here locally to keep us at good levels year round,” Tom says. With the help of dedicated donors like him, Michigan Blood is able to assure a steady, safe, reliable supply of blood in all the regions we serve.