250 LTD donor Jim Ivory

250 LTD donor Jim Ivory

DAYTON, Ohio – Dayton donor James Ivory is like St. Nick to Community Blood Center all year round. He always seems to come bearing gifts. “I’m a creature of habit,” he says about his every-other-Thursday apheresis appointment. Today’s (Dec. 20) marked his milestone 250th lifetime blood donation.

It’s worth noting that this donation was “back” on his Thursday schedule after a rare Monday appointment on his previous visit. Jim is proud of his Polish heritage and learned his way around the kitchen from his mom. (His mother’s parents were Polish immigrants; his dad is Irish). Jim made various recipes – including his popular cabbage rolls – for an event at the Polish Club, so he moved his appointment to Monday so he could bring a fresh batch to CBC Donor Room staff members!

“My mom was a donor,” he says, “although she didn’t get to donate much because she was always busy having babies! There are 11 of us – eight boys and three girls. I’m number three.”

Jim says he started donating in high school, and vividly remembers hurrying with his mother to CBC to donate blood after the 1974 Xenia tornado struck, killing 32 people and injuring 1,300. “I brought my mom down that night, and there were so many people crowded into the hallways you couldn’t move. I remember a nurse opened a door from a stairway and said ‘come this way.’ We ended up being the first to have blood drawn.”

He’s been a donor through good times and hard. He became an apheresis donor “back when you had needles in both arms and it took about four hours!” He’s retired now from fueling Emery cargo jets at the Dayton Airport. He served 10 years as president of the Polish Club, and still helps with special events, like the Belmont High School teachers dinner tonight.

Tuesday night he watched his granddaughter perform a solo at the St. Christopher’s Elementary School Christmas Pageant. “When the first graders came in, it made us all think of the children at the Sandy Hook School shooting,” he said. “It brought tears to everyone’s eyes.”

Like so many Americans, Jim and his wife will hold family close this Christmas. “I’ve got some more baking to do,” he said about preparations for the weekend. “I’ll bake my Polish bread tomorrow. The kids are coming tomorrow (from Dayton, Springboro and Columbus). And I’ve got to make more cabbage rolls!”

Those cabbage rolls are popular at CBC, but everyone appreciates the colorful quilt hanging on the wall in the Donor Room, hand-stitched by his wife Linda from Jim’s CBC t-shirts. Jim Ivory is a big man with a jovial personality, a proud Polish heritage and big heart. The perfect recipe for a Donor for Life.

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