Xenia donor Ann Wolf comes from a “big Catholic farm family of seven boys and four girls” and spent 37 years as a high school special education teacher. She laughs when she says giving blood was probably the most relaxing hour of her day. With familiar ease she donated platelets Thursday, Sept. 28 to complete her milestone 400th lifetime blood donation.
Ann is only the third female donor with Community Blood Center to top 400 donations and she ranks among the top 15 donors overall. She routinely makes double platelet apheresis donations, and after her milestone the Dayton CBC Donor Center staff celebrated her with a cake and cupcakes forming the number 400.
She grew up in Mercer County and spent the early years of her career teaching in Darke County. She says helping neighbors and giving back to the community was a way of life, and giving blood was part of the tradition.
“I did it because my dad did it, and my mom,” said Ann. “I guess it’s something that you inherit.”
She thought back to the beginning of her “Donor for Life” journey and said, “I was teaching in Greenville, I think it was around ’75 when I started. A supervisor at the school where I was teaching got cancer. After she recovered she started a blood drive.”
Ann taught special education at Greenville High School then moved to Greene County where she taught at Greeneview in Jamestown and the Greene County Career Center. She spent two years teaching at an American school in Venezuela.
Ann and her husband Don have been married 23 years and live on a farm outside of Xenia. “When I moved here he was farming about 600 acres,” she said. “He’s down to about 400 now.”
Ann was quick to recruit Don as a blood donor. “I said, ‘As healthy as you are, and you don’t give blood? Come on!’” Don started donating in 1995 and now has 93 lifetime donations.
She’s excited that Don is approaching his 100th donation milestone. “When I knew I was getting closer to 400 it became a goal,” she said. “But 100 was big. I remember feeling, ‘I did it!’ The rest have flown by.”
Ann has been donating platelets since the early 80’s when she was asked to join the new apheresis program. She’s thankful that good health has allowed her to consistently donate. “I never get cold. I can walk barefoot in the snow – that’s pretty helpful for me!”
She says she seldom wears a coat during the winter, so she chose a “Donor for Life – 400 LTD” embroidered vest to celebrate her milestone instead of a jacket.
Giving blood has been a life-long commitment, but she remembers it also as a little oasis of relaxation during her busy life as a farm wife and school teacher.
“I do this because I want to,” she says. “For a long time it was also two hours of sitting down and people caring for you, instead of me always caring for my students!”
Over the years she encouraged students to support their high school blood drives because it was a chance to care for others.
“If you can teach them early, it makes a difference,” she said. “I would tell them it’s something to give that doesn’t have to be money. If you can give of yourself, it’s a big thing for your future.”