Giving blood is a way of life for Miami Township donor Ryka Shaffer. She and her husband Keith have been donating for decades, both whole blood and platelets as needed. Ryka reached her milestone 150th lifetime donation with a platelet donation Oct. 18 at the Dayton Community Blood Center.
“My husband started in the Army,” Ryka said. “I’ve been donating since ’96 because my mother had leukemia. She died that year. I started giving because I knew she had to use it.”
She also made her first platelet donation in 1996, then continued to give whole blood and platelets. She has donated platelets exclusively with CBC since 2007. She can recall the early years of apheresis when the procedure was more time-consuming and donors were often asked to donate on a moment’s notice.
“I remember being called in to donate on a Saturday evening for a child at Dayton Children’s,” she said. “I said, ‘I’ll come if you do my husband too.’ He had never given platelets before.”
Ryka and Keith have two children, four grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and “one on the way.” Ryka retired after more than 20 years with Morgan Stanley. Keith has 151 lifetime donations. Ryka has recently averaged five donations per year but reached the 150 milestone with her seventh donation of 2018.
Ryka received a heavy fleece “Donor for Life – 150 LTD” blanket to celebrate her milestone. But her best bet for staying warm during the winter is with visits to Florida. She doesn’t let that interrupt her donating.
“We’ll roll the RV down to Sebring in January,” she said. “I give whole blood in January down there!”