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Morrisonville woman recognized as donor of 100,000th pint

PLATTSBURGH Michelle Hamilton, of Morrisonville, made history last Thursday as donor of the 100,000th pint at the North Country Regional Blood bank, located within the CVPH Health Plaza. Hamilton, a substitute teacher for the Beekmantown and Saranac school districts, was honored by the blood donor center staff for the monumental donation she made on Jan. 31. Of course the recognition took place as she rested in the recliner where she had just made a blood platelet donation, with her husband, Tom, and two sons, Matthew and Michael by her side. To date Hamilton has reached the three-gallon milestone and was noted as a frequent donor of both blood and platelets. Hamilton said she made the decision to become a donor just after 9/11. She also did so in memory of her grandfather, John Dubay, who passed away 17 years ago. He too was a frequent donor up until he reached age 75. Basically he gave until he couldnt give anymore, she said. And today was his wedding anniversary, she added. To Hamilton, the real gratification comes from knowing she is able to help other people. I just happened to be the lucky stiff (to give the notable donation), she joked. Mr. Hamilton too, had been a long-term donor, and both sons say they intend to follow that family tradition as soon as they are old enough to give blood. Jenn Matt of the blood donor center made the chairside presentation. She recalled making the realization that they had reached such a noteworthy number as she was working in the lab one day. We certainly didnt reach that number overnight, Matt said. Although she could not pinpoint the exact date, Matt said the count began somewhere around 1992 when the blood bank had changed over to a new system. She was glad that Hamilton was the honoree. She truly is the perfect person (for this to happen to) because she has been such a loyal donor. Matt noted that reaching the 75,000 pint count in 2006 was also monumental in that it was key to the donor centers ability to become self-sufficient. Having such a wonderful donor and sponsor base has allowed the NCR Blood Bank to keep up with the demands of the newly established open-heart surgery center as well as the FitzPatrick Cancer Center. Martha Alger, a lead phelobotomist, said many of the donors enjoy the comfort of knowing their donations remain within our community. Blood is a unique resource, she said. Theres just no substitute for a unit of blood. According to Alger, O-negative is the blood most sought, because it is universal, however every type is important to have available. She also explained that platelets, which can be banked for up to five days, are used as clotting agents, particularly for cancer, cardiac and trauma patients. To those whod like to donate, but are fearful of the process, Hamilton said just give yourself that one opportunity to get over that fear, it is really very rewarding. The staff is wonderful, Alger added. They distract you and before you know it, its over. Its healthy too, Alger said. Your body replaces that blood with fresh cells. Its something like an oil change.

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