Leif Anderson is a new pastor on staff at Grace Crossing Church in Beavercreek, and it’s fitting that his name is pronounced “life.” He celebrated the “Gift of Life” with his milestone 100th lifetime blood donation Aug. 25 at the Dayton Community Blood Center, and he purposely timed the donation as a remembrance of his twin brother Lance who he lost at the age of nine.
“I’m giving in memory of my twin brother Lance,” Leif said as he donated with his wife Jean by his side. He wanted to reach the milestone on the Aug. 25 anniversary of Lance’s death. “I knew it was coming and I wanted to schedule it for my brother, who died two months before his 10th birthday.”
Leif said Lance was born with a hole in his heart that eventually needed surgical repair. The operation went as planned, but the result was unexpected. The boy’s blood vessels and arteries had become underdeveloped while his heart was weak, and the increased pressure after the repair caused fatal hemorrhaging.
Leif learned about giving back through blood donations early in life. “My dad was a school teacher in Minnesota,” he said. “He would schedule donors when the school put on a blood drive to help replenish the community supply.”
Leif said he donated whole blood when he could during the busy 18 years he spent as director of Leadership Development with Athletes in Action, the worldwide sports ministry based in Xenia. It included a two-year assignment in Kazakhstan when their three daughters were still very young.
Leif and Jean’s daughters are now married. They have two grandchildren and one more on the way. Leif recently became an executive pastor at Grace Crossing and the family now lives in Centerville. He has become a regular apheresis donor and he reached his milestone with a plasma donation. “I became more systematic about donating when I got into apheresis,” he said.
Leif and Jean were pleased that he was able to complete his 100th on the anniversary of his twin brother’s death. “It’s in memory of Lance,” he said. “It’s what I can do for him. I keep him in my conscience, and it’s been my motivation.”