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Smith reaches 10 gallon mark in blood donations

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Smith reaches 10 gallon mark in blood donations

(GABI HUTSON/ EYE OF THE TIGER)

(GABI HUTSON/ EYE OF THE TIGER)

(GABI HUTSON/ EYE OF THE TIGER)

(GABI HUTSON/ EYE OF THE TIGER)

KENZIE DUNCAN

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Roseville High School English teacher Stuart Smith has donated over 10 gallons of blood through the course of his life. According to Smith, he began donating blood when he was attending high school in Auburn. He then continued donating both through college and after he graduated. In total, Smith has been donating for over 20 years.

“It’s a habit – I got started when I was in high school, and I went to Placer High School here in Auburn years and years ago. It was fun to do. It was a satisfying experience,” Smith said. “I did it when I moved back to California after grad school, and in fact none of those donations even count in the 10 gallons, so I’ve actually done more than that.”

According to Smith, he donates blood around five to six times a year. Smith participates in the blood drives  at RHS and other blood donations done outside of school.

“They’re timed pretty well here, so that I can do at least one donation in between,” Smith said. “This is one of those low grade civic responsibilities or civic obligations you get to fulfill and it keeps you engaged and whether that’s the way you vote, the way you worship, the way you work in the legal system, all those things keep you engaged on that fairly mundane level, that’s really good. It should be like brushing your teeth, it’s something you just do.”

According to Smith, the act of giving blood is both easy to do and rewarding.

“I started going to blood drives here regularly and it was just clock-work, and that’s the reason I like doing it, [because] it’s something you can do,” Smith said. “You may not get called for jury duty, you vote every couple years, you pay your taxes, but this is something you do that you wouldn’t otherwise have to.”

One of Smith’s main motivations behind donating blood is because of a life threatening experience that his wife had encountered years before they had met.

“On a personal level I found out many years later after I started donating that when my wife was a freshman in Placer County, she was in a terrible car accident and nearly died; her spine was broken and she had internal bleeding,” Smith said.

According to Smith, one of the things that saved his wife’s life was a massive blood transfusion. During the time frame of the incident, Smith was giving blood, and he felt a sense of relief in the possibility that he could have helped.

“It’s not compulsory and yet it makes such a big difference and it costs you so little,” Smith said.

According to Smith’s wife Jennifer Smith, blood donations are selfless gifts that saves lives.

I think it’s an incredible gift that Stuart has given our community. When you donate blood, you’re giving life to someone in need, you’re giving that person another chance. Stuart knows this, and has been donating blood for much longer than I’ve known him,” Jennifer said. “Think of all the families that still have their loved ones because he took a little time out of his schedule to help a stranger. That’s a lot of lives.”

Although Jennifer herself does not donate blood, she is grateful for those that do. According to her, as a result of her accident, and the blood transfusion she received, she experiences anxiety at the possibility of donating blood.

“Someone gave an hour of their time and saved my life. This huge 10 gallon mark says more about what a generous, caring, thoughtful, person he is. He donates blood because he knows it helps save lives. These people will never get the chance to thank him, but he does it anyway,” Jennifer said. “To him, it’s just the right thing to do. That’s the man I married, and it’s one of the many reasons I love him.”

According to Smith, donating blood helps strengthen a society and is a simple way for one to contribute in a positive way.

“The more you can do regularly everyday, and make something that’s really important to our health for our society, then the better the society is [and] the stronger it is,” Smith said.

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