04/12/09 — Girls continue family tradition at Eastern Wayne High blood drive

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Girls continue family tradition at Eastern Wayne High blood drive

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on April 12, 2009 2:00 AM

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Phlebotomist Lynda Bain prepares Eastern Wayne High School student Mary Margaret Davenport to give blood in the school gym Tuesday. Mary was one of 48 donors that day who had never given blood before.

Seventeen-year-old Mary Margaret Davenport took a slow deep breath forcing herself to relax Tuesday as she joined the ranks of 48 first-time blood donors in the Eastern Wayne High gym.

Afterward she said it wasn't that bad -- that the worst part was the anticipation.

Before Mary sat in the reclining chair, her older sister, Shirlyn, chided her for being so nervous, admonishing her to think about saying "ow" rather than the needle.

"I've known I was going to give blood since I was knee high to a grasshopper," Shirlyn said. "I got through my first time by telling myself I'm a hefty girl. I won't faint."

But Mary is a breather. She has her own way of coping.

"It hurt for a second there. It won't make me nervous next time," she said.

Shirlyn admitted that she, too, was nervous the first time.

"It was like 'Oh. I don't know if I can do this.' And I said, 'Shirlyn, you've always known you'd do this. You've got to do this. Just concentrate on saying ow....' Then, there's this warm tube running down your arm. It's warm because it's coming out of your body. I expected it to be cold. The tube was cold, so I expected it to be cold."

Their mother, Sharon Davenport, said she hopes the girls' younger brother, Ross, will carry on the family tradition when he is old enough to give blood.

"They used to come with me in their strollers," she said about her numerous trips to give blood, with her children in tow.

Mrs. Davenport has been giving blood ever since she was old enough to. She said it's because she received the gift of life when she was 9-years-old and a traffic accident that took her mother's life injured her and her father.

"We both needed blood," she said. "If it had not been for somebody else who would come out and donate, we would have been without."

Mrs. Davenport gave blood for the 46th time Tuesday. Shirlyn gave for the sixth time.

And Mary was not the only first-timer during that afternoon in the school gym.

Red Cross Bloodmobile supervisor Harriet Pegram said a good 75 percent of the donors who came to the gym to give blood Tuesday were first-timers.

"Some of them we will see again at Campbell (University) or Wayne Community College. We hope they will anyway," she said. "We like high schools, because it instills that good habit of donating blood for a lifetime."

You have to be at least 17 years old and weigh more than 110 pounds to give blood, and you can't have aspirin or other drugs in your system. If you recently got a tattoo, you have to wait a year. Hemoglobin levels must be at least 12.5. You can give blood every 56 days.

Mrs. Davenport used to go every two months. She and Shirlyn usually go together. And now, Mary will, too.

"I can't imaging not giving blood," Mrs. Davenport said.

"It's so much fun watching the first-time donors," Shirlyn said. "They're always nervous. The others are calm, like 'I've always done this.'"

Red Cross Director Chuck Waller said the response to the Eastern Wayne blood drive was phenomenal.

"Our goal was to collect 50 units, and 59 were collected," he said. "That included 12 who gave double. Our high schools do a good job."