Assumption teacher saves 300 lives through blood donation

| November 18, 2011
Sister Margaret Willis.

Sister Margaret Willis.

Sister Margaret Willis of Assumption High School saved her 300th life on Nov. 10.

Having successfully given blood her 100th time, she indirectly impacted a total of 300 individuals.

For nearly 30 years, Sister Marge – as she’s best known by her students – has been coordinating blood drives and giving blood herself three times each year.

With each blood donation, a donor can save up to three lives, but in Sister Margaret’s case, her impact extends way beyond the cumulative 300.

With an average of 25 people giving blood along with Sister Margaret at her organized blood drives for the last 30 years, she and those who have joined her have conceivably saved thousands of individuals.

“I think in terms of 3 people each time, but I don’t really think in terms of the broader picture,” Sister Margaret said at Thursday’s blood drive.

Sister Margaret, who turned 70 last weekend, was given a special T-Shirt from her students at Assumption and surprised by all who came out to congratulate her for her 100th blood donation Thursday morning.

Since coming to Assumption and organizing its bloodmobile drive, Sister Margaret has inspired her students to follow in her footsteps.

Several Assumption graduates continue to give blood today and some have even gone on to organize their own blood drives at Bellarmine University.

Sister Margaret has also helped allay the fears of several of her students who were once hesitant to give blood but now donate as often as she does.

“I (tell students) it’s going to hurt to get a needle in your arm, but keep in mind you’re helping three people – endure it for a few minutes,” she said. “They come back so proud of themselves afterwards.”

As for Sister Margaret’s ability to continue to give blood for the last several decades, she credits Flintstone’s children’s vitamins for keeping her iron levels high and suitable to donate blood.

However, when it comes to crediting herself for achieving her goal of 100 donations, she is exceedingly humble. In fact, she never even expected any attention for her considerable milestone on Thursday.

Sister Margaret Willis giving blood.

Sister Margaret Willis giving blood.

“Accidentally, one day I was talking to the juniors, and I said, ‘Look I’m going to give for my 100th time and if I’m still walking around alive, its not going to hurt you to give,’ ” Sister Margaret said. “They clapped. They picked up on that and I didn’t even mean to do that. It just came out of my mouth. It was just my personal goal I didn’t think anything about it.”

Since giving blood for the 100th time, Sister Margaret hasn’t set any goals for the future yet, but she said she knew a man who donated 200 times so it’s not out of the question.

“Some day there’s going to be a day when I can’t give blood,” Sister Margaret said. “But I’ll keep on going as long as I can.”

photos by ASHLEY ANDERSON | Voice-Tribune

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Ashley Anderson

Ashley spends half her time writing stories at The Voice-Tribune office and half her time out on the town conducting interviews, while occasionally dressing in wild outfits to fully immerse herself in the experience (aka Princess Leia at Comic Con). Ashley is a huge UofL fan and loves the Yankees and the Boston Celtics (she is fully aware of the irony). She hopes to one day outshine Erin Andrews on ESPN and enjoys running, Bardstown Road/Fourth Street, Breaking Bad and reality TV (she’s not ashamed to admit that).

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