Bachmeier said, “When we were in college a bunch of us decided to go and give blood because we got five bucks and five bucks in those days got a six-pack of beer and a tank of gas, so we were pretty excited.”
Des-Lacs Burlington resident, Paula Bachmeier, has been donating blood for the last 47 years, but what started off as a gig for quick cash, has turned into much more.
“I just kept giving and 2005 my youngest son was diagnosed with leukemia so we spent a lot of time in the cancer ward and I saw how many blood products he needed, and the kids, he was in a pediatric unit and I saw all the little kids that needed all the blood products and I just knew that I needed to keep going.” Bachmeier said
And that’s what she did, dedicating herself to donating 158 times, even after being turned away.
“I’ve been turned down at least 5 times for low iron and when you give as much as I have and they’ve worn out one vein and they have to go to the other one and some times they dig around and dig around and can’t get it going, so I get turned away then too.” she said.
Although it’s been challenging, to say the least, it hasn’t stopped her from donating, she says there’s no excuse in the book good enough for others to not be doing the same.
“You hear all the time people who don’t want to donate, well I’ve never given anything before, and I say why not, and they say because I’m scared of needles, and I give them the pitch, let’s go to a pediatric oncology unit and look at those little two-year-olds and see how they like needles,” Bachmeier said
She says her intention is never to come across as mean, she says it’s just about bringing awareness to a serious matter.
“Less than ten percent of our population is donating blood, so, throughout her years of being a blood donor, it’s probably been heartwarming to her, knowing that it’s not just that patient receiving that gift of life. It spans throughout their family, throughout their group of friends, and some times in our smaller communities, it can impact an entire community.” Vitalant Senior Donor Recruitment Representative Katie Bartelson said.
Bachmeier told KX News even if you are unable to donate, that doesn’t mean you can’t still pitch in.
“Some of them can’t give blood for health reasons or they really just can’t get over their fear but they always find someone for their place so by talking about it and encouraging people you just hope that more people will donate because it’s so important,” Bachmeier said
Bachmeier has been awarded multiple plaques for her outstanding donations.
She is just two visits away from reaching her 20-gallon donation mark.