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Falling In Love While Donating Blood

“He had me at the Kleenex.”

Tissues were far from Theresa Duquette’s mind when she sat down with Robert “Bob” Belill, a regular donor at Michigan Blood’s Saginaw Donor Center. It was a routine blood donor screening – something she’d been doing for more than 30 years.

Little did she know that this one would change her life forever.

The phlebotomist took Bob’s blood pressure, but noticed a slight spike. When she pointed it out, she noticed he was blushing – he admitted he’d been working up the nerve to ask her for a date.

“No, thank you,” she said simply, and sent him to the donor chair.  

Bob began donating platelets in 2009. His late wife was battling cancer at the time, and he wanted to do his part to help. After she passed away, the widower didn’t stop giving – instead, he made it his mission to give every two weeks.

Eventually, he said, a woman at the donor center would catch his eye: Theresa. It was a chance encounter…one that wouldn’t happen again for another year.

“There was a connection,” said Bob, as Theresa laughed.

“I didn’t feel it,” she replied, smiling.

Weeks later, she saw it was his birthday and decided to call him up.

“I just wanted to wish him a happy birthday,” said Theresa.

It was the opportunity he’d hoped for – Bob convinced her to go on a date. 

The two had their first date driving through Michigan to look at the autumn foliage. It lasted six hours, with both Bob and Theresa telling each other their life stories…sometimes with tears involved.

At one point, Bob pulled over to a convenience store. The phlebotomist thought nothing of it, until he came out with a pack of tissues.

Now, the two are engaged and happier than ever. Theresa said it’s not hard to find good people at Michigan Blood, but that Bob was something different.

“He fills my life with laughter,” she said, “I think it’s one of the reasons I stayed here 35 years – for him.”