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“What a great opportunity to be part of an organization whose mission of saving lives—one pint at a time—I truly believe in."

When Therese Hackenmueller was 26, she achieved two life-long ambitions: she got her driver’s license and, with her newfound freedom, began giving blood. “Due to a variety of circumstances, I didn’t get my driver’s license in my teens,” she commented. “But giving blood was one of the first things I did after I got my license. I had always wanted to do it. So I started in 1974 and kept on going.”

“When I first began donating, I was able to give blood in the name of senior citizens I knew. Often, I would know the recipient’s family so I would get to hear the stories of the pints they received from me,” she said. “I even had blood drawn for myself before a hysterectomy, just in case—and it turned out that I needed both pints during my surgery. Now I know that my blood goes to whoever needs it. It’s really something to think about how my blood donation could be going to a brother, a father, a child, whomever. You’ve helped them have a better or extended life.”

Over the years, the ways that Therese has given to others has changed but not her ongoing resolve to make a difference. “I encourage people at my church to donate,” Therese says. “In fact, I’ve run out of people to talk to about it. I’m so passionate. I wear my Memorial Blood Centers shirts all the time, just to show how strongly I feel.”

As significant as Therese’s recruitment efforts are, she also has given a remarkable 75 gallons of blood and volunteers regularly at Memorial Blood Centers as well. “Whether I’m giving blood, coordinating a blood drive at church, greeting donors at a donor center, or serving as a café host, it is great to be part of a mission-driven organization like Memorial Blood Centers. And the variety of projects and flexibility in scheduling that they offer me makes this a perfect volunteer experience.”