Hercules, age 3, is a 170-pound St. Bernard with a gentle disposition. Constance Kim is a petite mother of three with an outgoing personality. Every two months, Hercules and Constance donate blood to the community -- he at the Eastern Veterinary Blood Bank (EVBB) on Bestgate Road and she at Anne Arundel Medical Center?s (AAMC) Blood Donor Center.
Constance became a regular blood donor with AAMC shortly after September 11, one of the nearly 800 people who signed up as donors in response to the terrorist acts. Carolyn Mull, coordinator of AAMC?s Blood Donor Center, estimates that only 10-15 percent of this group have continued to donate. ?That was an emotional time — and the outpouring was inspirational — but there is always a need for donations here at the hospital,? said Mull. ?Our blood supply is totally dependent on the generosity of the community.?
Hercules has donated a pint of blood at EVBB every eight weeks since he was six months old. The Bestgate Road facility in Annapolis is one of only two volunteer blood donor centers for dogs in the United States. EVBB donor coordinator Tyla Sheptea says he is a favorite with the staff. ?His chart is covered with hearts, indicating he is a relaxed and happy dog donor,? she said.
In return for their generosity, Constance and Hercules have an automatic health check every time they donate blood. AAMC Blood Donor Center staffers Robin Smith and Shenise Nick carefully monitor all donors? blood count, cholesterol and blood pressure at each visit, all at no charge. At EVBB, Hercules is entitled to free blood work and a free physical exam at each visit.
But most important is the fact that Constance and Hercules are ?heroes? in their hometown. They take time literally ?to give back to the community? with a very precious and personal gift, one that has the power to save the lives of others like themselves.
AAMC Blood Donor Center, Acute Care Pavilion,
2001 Medical Parkway, Annapolis MD
Eastern Veterinary Blood Bank,
808 Bestgate Road, Annapolis, MD