Aldina Franz and Shirley Kasper of Hillsboro are good friends. They see each other often at church and community functions. They also see each other at almost every blood drive that comes to town, and both were on hand Thursday to help the American Red Cross reach a goal of 50 donors at Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church.
“I try to donate every 56 days, or whenever they come to Hillsboro,” Franz said. “I feel like it’s my opportunity to help someone.”
Franz, who received a special pin Thursday for donating her 100th pint of blood, said she got started when she was about 20 years old.
“I worked at Tip Top Dairies as a payroll clerk,” she said. “They used to come right there to the offices and I donated for the first time then.”
Since then, Franz said she has been at every blood drive, about five times each year, giving her pint of blood if she qualifies.
“Sometimes my iron levels were too low and they wouldn’t take it then,” she said. “But that has only happened a couple of times.”
Franz said she prepares for the blood drive day by drinking lots of water 12 to 24 hours before her appointment, and eating a good meal beforehand.
“It doesn’t hurt much and I’ve never really felt bad, but it helps to be prepared so you recover quicker,” she said. “Today it only took me 5 minutes and 26 seconds to donate my blood.”
Franz said she enjoyed getting a card back from the American Red Cross telling her where her blood went.
“I’ve gotten cards the last two times I donated,” she said. “The first one said my blood helped someone in El Dorado, the last time my blood was divided three ways and helped three different people in Wichita.”
Kasper, a co-coordinator of the Hillsboro event, said she was motivated to donate because of a family member.
“My brother died of cancer at age 29,” she said. “I donate my blood in memory of him. That motivates me.”
Kasper also said she enjoyed finding out where her blood was used and, like Franz, got a card saying it helped three people last time.
“This is something easy I can do to help others,” she said.
Kasper edged ahead of Franz in total pints donated, with 126.
“I’m sure we’ll see each other here next time,” she said. “It’s not a contest; just something we feel is important to do.”