Math and helping others are among some of the things Larry McKee is enthusiastic about. The now retired math professor has been donating blood since he was a freshman at Bradley University in Peoria.
“The Red Cross came in once a semester. So, I just kind of established going, teaming up with a couple of my friends from the choir. And we were just going to lay on the table and sing while we were donating,” recalls Larry.
After college, Larry moved to Peru and began donating blood every eight weeks at the nearby donations center. Since 1977, there has been only a gap of about four years in which Larry was unable to donate blood regularly due to having to travel long distance to his teaching job. However, he still made it a point of donating when he could, “I couldn’t get up there to donate blood, but I would in the Summer or if they happen to have a site somewhere else. I could sneak in, but it wasn’t every eight weeks,” adds Larry.
He became a donor in 1977 at just 19 years old and since then Larry has donated 200 units of blood which equals 25 gallons. Larry says that he gives blood because he wants to help others as he is aware that there is always a need for blood.
Larry has been donating blood since college
Through the many years of donating blood, Larry has built a strong bond with other donors; people he considers his extended family. For Larry going to the donation center has become an opportunity to spend time together, “we just sit around and catch up, visit and make sure that we’re there eight weeks later,” he explains.
Larry will continue to roll up his sleeve to donate blood as long as he is able to, “It’s just one thing I can do to help people that doesn’t cost anybody anything…maybe a couple of hours, but that’s no problem.”
Written by Red Cross marketing & communications manager Isis Chaverri