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'It brought me back to life': Portland couple encourages all who can to donate blood

You can register now to take part in the NEWS CENTER Maine Red Cross Blood Drive on March 24.

PORTLAND, Maine — For years, Peter and Mary Ann Gordon of Portland have known the importance of giving blood, but it wasn't until overcoming the scariest of circumstances that Mary Ann opted to donate blood for the first time.

"I had never given blood and am fearful every time someone has taken blood from me...until I got COVID last March," Mary Ann Gordon said. 

It was after overcoming her symptoms from the virus that she first heard about survivors donating convalescent plasma. 

"I thought I have to put my big girl pants on and get out there and do that because I can save lives," she said. 

   

Mary Ann was so eager to donate plasma, she gave blood the first day the program was available in Maine. She said her plasma donation went on to help those currently battling the effects of COVID-19. 

Mary Ann's husband Peter is just as passionate about giving blood. He's unable to do so after being diagnosed with leukemia in 2008. He has, however, been the recipient of life-saving donations.

"When I was first diagnosed with leukemia, my own blood count starting dropping drastically," Peter Gordon said. "I was in really really bad shape as we were desperately waiting for a donor."

Peter said that if it were not for blood transfusions and a bone marrow transplant, he might not be here to share his story.

"It was amazing," he said. "It brought me back to life."

"Somebody went out of their way to save Peter's life. And...I want to do that for someone else, and it feels great to do it for someone else," Mary Ann said.

Mary Ann said that as a nervous first-time donor, the Red Cross helped her through every step of the process.

She will be unable to donate plasma to help those currently battling COVID-19 after she receives the vaccine. However, now that she's started her journey of giving, she plans to start donating blood and platelets as well. 

"It can save a life...and wow, how many times do you get to feel like you're a superhero," said Mary Ann. 

You have the chance to be a superhero like Mary Ann, and help save the life of someone like Peter by taking part in the NEWS CENTER Maine Red Cross Blood Drive.

Make a difference. Join us on Wednesday, March 24 for the blood drive.

HOW TO REGISTER:

Go to RedCrossBlood.org

  • Click on DONATE BLOOD then FIND A BLOOD DRIVE
  • Enter CODE: NEWSMAINE
  • Choose your donation site and time

PLEASE NOTE: Walk-ins are welcomed, but we can't guarantee the staff will be able to take them.