129 and Counting: Meet the Top Blood Donor in Illinois

Theresa Kallmbah from Mackinaw, Illinois has been donating blood since high school.

“I got started because one of the kids I hung out with had hemophilia and needed blood on a regular basis,” she said.

Theresa has faithfully donated blood and platelets ever since. In fact, she has donated so much that she currently is the top donor in the Illinois region. To date, Theresa has donated 129 gallons of blood. Yes, you read that correctly – 129 gallons.

The number even catches Theresa by surprise, when she hears it. “They tell me how much, and I’m looking at 55-gallon drums sitting side by side and thinking, ‘That much, really?'”

Theresa is an advocate for blood and platelet donation wherever she goes. She has started blood drives over the years, encourages everyone to donate and offers a simple explanation for why she continues to do so.

“I have something in my body that I have in abundance, and I don’t need all that I have. This person over here, whether I know them or not, may need that: an accident victim, a new baby, a surgical or cancer patient. Somebody who needs what I have. You can’t buy it. You can’t manufacture it. And, that person needs it to stay alive. I have too much, so why not give it to that person to help keep them alive? There’s no reason why not.”
-Theresa Kallmbah

Platelets are a big part of Theresa’s donation story. Platelets are eligible to be donated every seven days – up to 24 times a year. For perspective, whole blood donation is allowed six times per year.

Thank you for your dedication to giving blood and platelets, Theresa! Visit redcrossblood.org to join her and make an appointment at a location near you.

Written by Illinois Region Communications Manager Brian Williamsen

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