CENTURY MARK ... Jon Hebble of Decatur is seen in the process of making his milestone 100th Pheresis donation at the Fort Wayne American Red Cross Donation center in Fort Wayne. Sharyn Whitman, CEO of the ARC Blood Services of the Indiana-Ohio region, adds her personal "thank you" to Jon for his dedication to providing the life-giving gift. With Hebble are, from left, Randy Jackson of the ARC Pheresis Staff, Whitman, and Carl Sabo of the ARC Pheresis Staff. (Photo provided)
This is one of thousands of stories of American Red Cross Apheresis donors, but this story is about my friend Jon Hebble as he nears his 100th apheresis donation milestone.
When asked why he faithfully donates platelets every two weeks at the Fort Wayne ARC Blood center, he sort of rolls his eyes and simply responds, “Because...”
If further pressed for a reason for his devotion to donation his response will lengthen to, “Because I can…! At that point no further explanation will be required when you see and hear the resolve in his eyes and voice.
My story is similar as my first blood donation was when I was 18. My Air Force father, who was also my Scoutmaster ,simply said to me that a bloodmobile was scheduled the following week and I was supposed to go, “Because that’s what you do!”
No questions about if, or why, or was it convenient, just a simple statement about life and how we deal with it that still guides me after almost 40 years.
I have known Jon Hebble casually for most of my adult life, first in Scouting activities and then just seeing him around our small hometown of Decatur. Additionally, we would see each other at the successful Adams County Indiana blood drives as both he and I had been faithful whole blood donors for as long as either of us could remember.
As often happens in life we would soon to get to know each other better when my daughter and his brother started dating, which led to something more and soon he was Uncle Jon and I was Grandpa Kitson.
During one of the family get-togethers we both attended I shared with him that I had missed seeing him at the bloodmobiles as I had started donating platelet products, which allowed me to donate 24 times a year and with my AB+ blood type allowed me to potentially help many, many more people.
His response was typical Jon Hebble as he simply said, “When are we going next?”
That was almost five years ago and during that time almost every second Wednesdayat 4 p.m. will find me calling him to ask, “Are you ready to go…?” His simple tongue -in-cheek reply will be, “Are you here yet..?”
With that predictable conversation past us, together we will make the 45-minute drive from Decatur to the Fort Wayne donation center betting on who has the higher hemoglobin count and who gets done with our double platelet product donation first, simply, “Because that’s what we do!
To learn more about blood donation opportunities, visit www.redcrossblood.org/ or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733 2767).