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Mosier woman donates blood for 125th time

When Harry Truman was in office, Jean Bagge donated blood for the first time.

It was 1948. Her laundry owner boss let her off work to go and give.

The Corvallis laundry's long closed, but Bagge is still giving.

"It's not a big deal. Not for me. But it's a big deal for people who need blood," says Bagge, 74, of Mosier. She donated her 125th unit of blood Wednesday, in the American Red Cross Blood Drive at Hood River Armory.

"It's a tremendous feat," says Darrin Greenlee, director of donor services for the Red Cross Pacific Northwest Region, who noted that each unit of donated blood is divided into three uses.

"She has affected the lives of at least 375 people," Greenlee says. "And if all those people donated blood, it just multiplies."

"It's not a big deal to give blood," Bagge says again. "Everyone should do it."

Red Cross spokeswoman Margo Parker said 93 units of blood were collected Wednesday, just short of the goal of 100. The event went smoothly, with most of the 107 presenters scheduled by appointment, Parker said. Among the donors was Mary Morrell of Hood River, giving her 98th unit. Morrell is on track to reach the 100 mark this summer, Parker said.)

Bagge said that in 54 years the actual blood-drawing process has changed "very little."

"I've tried to give blood every chance I get, unless I'm on vacation or something," Bagge says.

An American flag pin adorns Bagge's jacket, which she draws closer to her as she awaits the needle to be inserted in her arm.

The cool interior of the Armory is about the only discomfort she feels from giving blood.

"I just think it's an important thing to do," Bagge says. "It doesn't hurt me but it helps a lot of people."

Phlebotemist Dawn Casey tells her, "One hundred and twenty-five units: you're an inspiration."

Bagge compliments Casey for a smooth poke of the needle.

"That's about all there is, a little sting and that's it," Bagge says. She never feels tired or dizzy after giving blood.

"I never feel any different," says Bagge, who works as a cook two days each week at Mosier Terrace.

"I've never had to have (donated) blood but I might someday," she adds. "I just hope young kids will think it's important and keep giving," she said.

Turning to Casey, she asks, "there's no limit, is there?"

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