RICHMOND, Indiana – It was easy to spot Gwen Schroeder during her 19 years with the City of Richmond, most of it with the Parks & Recreation Department. She was always wearing purple. “I was the purple boss lady,” she said.
So of course she wore purple to make her milestone 100th lifetime blood donation at the May 2 blood drive at Reid Health. She chose an Earlham College t-shirt. Earlham’s team colors are maroon and white, but they do make a purple t-shirt.
Community Blood Center accountant representative Melinda Frech thought Gwen would like the dark blue “Military Appreciation Month” t-shirt given to donors at the blood drive. “Melinda told me it would not be purple,” said Gwen. “I said, yea right!”
“I just like purple,” she said. “My kitchen and bathroom are lavender. My bedroom has purple carpet. I even have a purple bowling ball. I used to have a purple van. They don’t make that purple anymore, so I have a purple license plate frame on my new car.”
“It makes it easier for everybody when you get older,” she reasoned. “Your family can give you anything in purple and they know you’ll like it.”
Gwen can talk until she’s blue in the face about her fondness for purple. But her true color is red when it comes to giving blood. As she has grown older, so has her dedication to donating.
“Because I have parents who are elderly, and I know the value of donating blood,” she said. That awareness keeps her steadfast to her donation routine. But like her long history with “the color purple,” the journey to her 100th donation began many years ago. “It seemed like the right thing to do,” she said.
The day of Gwen’s donation marked a new day with expanded hours for the bimonthly Reid Health blood drives.
Reid hosts six blood drives a year in Lingle Hall, traditionally on Fridays. Beginning with the May 2 blood drive, the new blood drive day is now Tuesday. The blood drives are also three hours longer with the new hours of 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The goal is to accommodate more community members who would like to donate at Reid after work.