‘IT’S A SPECIAL ACCOMPLISHMENT’
Stamford woman donates 224th pint of blood
“I just can't understand why people can’t take time out of their life to give.” Elizabeth “Betsy” Henry
STAMFORD — An email from the American Red Cross to Elizabeth “Betsy” Henry stated in large red text: “You’re almost there!”
“With your next donation, you’ll become a 28 gallon blood donor,” the email read. “It’s a special accomplishment. One that only our most dedicated blood donors will reach. You should be proud.”
On Wednesday, the 68-year-old Stamford resident donated her 224th pint of blood at a Red Cross blood drive in the basement of the Stamford Church of Christ.
“The reason why I give blood is because you can't buy blood,” Henry said the day before the blood drive. “You can't get it on Amazon. You can't buy it at Walmart… And I just can't understand why people can’t take time out of their life to give.”
Henry has been donating blood since she was 17 years old. At that age, she was volunteering for the Red Cross in Greenwich and decided to give it a try. Being able to get out of class to make a donation was also an incentive.
She said she used to give blood every eight weeks but has cut back in recent years — to once every three or four months — at the recommendation of a doctor.
But every time she donates, she has to overcome a fear of needles.
Henry worked as a medical assistant before retiring eight years ago. She said she
had no problem with needles when she was helping a doctor — but when a needle is pointed at her, she has to look away.
“The past few years, I get more and more nervous when it comes time to give,” she said.
She urges family and friends to donate as well. Her husband, Jon, also gave blood on Wednesday.
“I have to drag him sometimes. I make him feel guilty,” Henry said the evening before. “I bribe him with a nice lunch after that.”
Henry’s daughter, Lisa Prindle, is helping her mother apply to set the Guinness World Record for most blood donated by a woman. The process involves submitting photos and witness statements, said Prindle, who followed her mother into the medical field and works as a practice manager.
Drawing blood typically takes eight to 10 minutes, according to the Red Cross. For Henry, it took six minutes on Wednesday.
Sipping from a juice box after making her donation, Henry said she was feeling fine — as she normally does — and excited.
“It's always exciting when you reach a milestone,” she said.
Henry said she looks forward to receiving a notification after donating that tells her where her blood is going — usually, it’s to Yale New Haven Hospital.
Red Cross spokesperson Jocelyn Hillard told Henry on Wednesday that donating 28 gallons of blood was a “tremendous feat.”
“Think about all the lives you may have saved because of that,” Hillard said.