Miami Township donor Mary “Jo” Hinker grew up in Shelby County, a community where it is more common to begin donating at an early age and to keep giving often as a “Donor for Life.” Jo has been on a roll lately, capturing personal goals as a type O negative “universal donor,” and on April 3 she completed the special milestone of her 100th lifetime donation.
With her 100th donation at the Dayton Community Blood Center she added the “Donor for Life – 100 LTD” jacket to her CBC wardrobe. She came to donate wearing one of the “Four Seasons O Negative Club” vests she earned by making at least four donations in one calendar year. Type O negative is “universal” because any patient in need can receive it.
“This came first,” she said, pointing to the grey vest she was wearing that she earned in 2016. “I just got my navy vest,” she said, the award for 2017. She couldn’t wait to show the 100 donation jacket to her husband Neal.
“My husband donates too,” she said. “So I’m pretty religious about it. We’re both pretty competitive. He has 105 donations. We’re both pretty religious about coming every eight weeks. My son Patrick donates too.”
Jo kept a strong pace the last few years as she drew closer to her 100th donation. Inspired to make up for lost time, she averaged six donations per year at St. Henry Parish and at CBC. “I took off for a few years when I had cancer,” she said. “Then I got back into it.”
She is retired after 17 years of teaching at First School pre-school in Centerville. Neal and Jo have two sons and two grandchildren.
Jo was one of six children in her family growing up in Shelby County. She remembers donating for the first time while a student at Holy Angels High School, which is now Lehman Catholic High School.
“My brother was in a car wreck back when we were in high school,” she said. “It was 1970. My other brother and I went to donate together.”
Her brother survived, and Jo kept donating. Her type O negative blood has helped an untold number of patients with an emergency need. CBC has introduced the new “Triple Crown” challenge for type O negative and B negative donors to donate three times in a year. She’s well on her way to another milestone.