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Big honor for major blood donors

GENEVA – Heartland Blood Center, 2000 W. State St., Geneva, is hosting a special blood drive from 11:30 a.m to 7 p.m. Monday, with honors to four major blood donors.

Among them are former Geneva Alderman Sam Hill, who donated 139 pints of blood, Anne Cesarone and Kathy Flores, both of Geneva, and Joseph Ryan of St. Charles.

Their stories will be shared to encourage more blood donations, Heartland spokeswoman Norma Strang said. The blood center has many openings Monday, so donors can call 630-208-8105 and schedule a time.

Cesarone, 44, has made platelet donations 91 times. Platelet donations involve removing that part of whole blood from a donor, and then returning the remaining blood components. 

Platelet donations can safely be made every two weeks, while whole blood donations can be made every eight weeks, she said.

“[Saturday] is my 92nd platelet donation,” Cesarone said. “It’s crazy isn’t it? ... I’ve always donated blood, but I switched to platelets about five years ago. Sometimes, I can give every two weeks, sometimes every three or four weeks depending on what I’ve got going on.”

Ryan, 57, said he has donated platelets many times.

“I donate because it’s a little thing I can do to help others,” Ryan said. “I donate platelets every two weeks.”

Flores has donated 82 pints of blood. On Monday, she said she will be donating her 83rd pint at the special blood drive in Geneva.

“I give because I know it will help somebody,” Flores said. “It is one way of giving back. ... It’s all a good thing – somebody always needs blood somewhere.”

Hill, 77,  who served as 1st Ward alderman for 12 years, said he gives blood every eight weeks. Hill said he will be at the Heartland center Monday, but it’s too soon for him to give blood yet.

“I’m just going to be there to welcome them,” Hill said. 

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