LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - She rolls-up her sleeve every 56 days. That's how often a person is allowed to give blood. And Brenda Necaise has given 10 gallons over the past 32 years.
She simply says, "I've always wanted to make a difference."
Wednesday morning, Necaise was rolling up her sleeve to give, again.
"I thought I'd never see the 10 gallon mark," she told the Red Cross workers, who learned about her impressive donation record.
She began giving the "gift of life" back in 1982. Since then, it's become a habit for the Mississippi Power employee. Even though she's working on pint number 81 now, the Long Beach woman remembers that first time giving.
"There was an explosion at the Chemfax refinery on Seaway Road. And one of the people involved in the explosion happened to be my neighbor, that I didn't know very well at the time," she recalled.
She went to the Red Cross office and asked to donate. And so began a generous habit of helping others by giving of herself.
"The years just went by, the gallons added up and I had no idea that I had reached ten, until the Red Cross rep called to remind me to give blood. And she said, 'This is going to be your ten gallons.' And I thought, 'Whoa!' So it was great, I was really excited," she said.
Imagine giving 10 gallons of blood. Even Brenda Necaise finds it hard to comprehend at times.
"I kind of try to visualize. That's two five gallon buckets, or you know. Things like that," she said.
"A lot of folks can't give blood. Medications or health concerns, things like that. And I felt like it was something that I could do. I've always wanted to make a difference."
"In the case of Ms. Necaise and people like her, it says something about their character, the type of person that they are, the compassion that they have for total strangers. To come in and donate 80 pints of blood. Those people are our unsung heroes," said Lasaun Turner, with the American Red Cross.
"If I can do it, anybody can do it," said a smiling Necaise, when she was nearly finished giving the latest pint.
Even though she's donated blood dozens of times over the years, there's one thing Brenda Necaise avoids.
"I can't watch the stick," she admits.