By: Maria Blocker, American Red Cross Volunteer

Carol Perfect provided this photo of her standing with her brother, Steven. Steven’s passing is what has inspired Carol to donate blood today.

We all have a million reasons to give back to our community or lend a helping hand to a neighbor. For some, giving back is not just a reason but a someone. For Carol Perfect of Walla Walla, Washington, that someone is her late brother Steven.

Over the years, Carol has been donating blood in honor of her brother who passed away from complications of a long-term illness. Steven was diagnosed as a young adult with glomerulonephritis, a genetic kidney disease. In most cases, glomerulonephritis causes inflammation of the tiny filters in the kidney, glomeruli, which are essential is filtering excess water or waste from the body’s blood.

Throughout much of his adult life, Steven received various treatments. “He had a kidney transplant but it didn’t take, so he was on dialysis for many years,” said Carol. After many years of treatment, Steven passed away at age 36.

Following her brothers passing, “I realized the importance of donating blood,” said Carol. She has been giving blood for about 30 years now.

Perhaps what keeps Carol coming back over the years is the impact one donation can make. “The fact that you are helping someone have a better quality of life is so rewarding,” said Carol. One act of donating can help with someone’s ongoing treatment or play a critical role in saving their life.

In most cases, a blood donation goes beyond medical care. By helping someone get blood that is vital in their care, you can give someone more memories with the ones they love. The blood given can help give an accident victim another birthday celebration with their family or allow a patient with a chronic disease to enjoy the little moments that make life so rewarding.

As a seasoned blood donor, Carol wants first time donors to know that the staff is here for your comfort. She always found that the staff at her local Red Cross donation center goes out of their way to ensure she has everything she needs so she can donate with ease.

Just a single donation can positively touch the lives of many. Anyone 16 years old or older, and in generally good health, can donate blood. There is no upper age limit for giving blood; you can donate no matter how old you are.

Click here to find a blood drive in your area.

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