Virginia man finishes blood donation challenge in Iowa

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) — A 72-year-old Virginia man has completed his longtime goal of donating blood in all 50 states after visiting a blood bank in Iowa.

John Ball of Charlottesville, Virginia, completed his quest Wednesday afternoon at the Life Serve Blood Center in Fort Dodge. He told The Messenger ( ) that he’s been donating blood since he was 17 and later decided to challenge himself to donate in every state.

“After I’d donated in 20 states and given about 80 pints,” he said, “I thought, let’s make this a little more interesting.”

The challenge has allowed him to cover a lot of territory across the country and meet many friends along the way. One of his most memorable trips was to Bozeman, Montana.

“We met a couple and they said if you come to Bozeman we’ll donate with you,” he said. “The countryside is just as pretty as anything I’ve seen.”

Some of the clinics Ball visited to donate blood were close enough to drive to, while others required him to purchase a plane ticket.

“From Virginia, it’s a piece to get to North Dakota,” he said. “I fly out for a day.”

Ball saved Iowa for last so he could visit his mother’s childhood home in Fort Dodge. He and his mother, Claire Hanson, 96, got a friendly reception from the current owners of the home.

“The people let us in to take pictures,” he said. “We just had a grand time.”

Now that Ball has completed his goal, he plans to travel to Canada in the future to donate blood and do some hiking.


Information from: The Messenger,


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