Mary Lory, 76, never liked needles or getting shots at the doctor’s office when she was younger, and yet the Clermont woman is now one of th e nation’s top donors after having donated 125 gallons of blood used to save “thousands of lives,” according to a blood bank official.
“I’m motivated to donate because I saw the need,” said Lory, who became a regular donor in 1981. Her twice-a-month donation of platelets goes to help cancer patients.
“It really is so simple to do and it can make a difference in saving people’s lives,” she said. “Just like one of the slogans for the blood bank: It’s safe, it’s simple, and it saves lives. It’s important and I know that I’m doing something good.”
Her first blood donation was on a whim around 1978. Lory had accompanied her daughter, Linda, who was planning to donate blood in Orlando, but Linda’s blood pressure was noted as being too low.
“And then the gal looked at my arms and said, ‘Oh, you have good veins,’” Lory said, recalling her first experience as a donor was a simple and painless process.
“It was a piece of cake, it really was, and it didn’t bother me at all,” she said. “It wasn’t at all like getting a shot that hurt.”
Her daughter continues to donate blood in Hollywood, where she lives, while Lory has a standing appointment at the same day and time every two weeks at 1:45 p.m. Thursdays at the Clermont branch of OneBlood.
“It’s just habit,” Lory said, noting she has her appointments set up for the year.
Over the years, Lory has found satisfaction in knowing that her donations of platelets, a two-hour process, is helping patients like her older brother who is now in remission after battling leukemia.
“He received a lot of red cells and a lot of platelets,” she said. “And I once met a lady in chemotherapy who was receiving a lot of platelets. She had terminal cancer and she said to tell people that blood donors not only saves lives, but it (a blood donation) makes the patient feel better.”
Pat Michaels, spokesperson for OneBlood, the sole provider of all blood donations for more than 200 hospitals in Florida and South Georgia, including all of Central Florida facilities, said Lory has accomplished an “amazing milestone” for donating 125 gallons of blood, which mostly has benefited cancer patients in for the form of much needed platelets.
“She is an angel among blood donors. She has done so much to help people and she’s very humble about it,” Michaels said.