Char Mello’s passion for blood donation started in 1992, she began her career with Versiti Blood Center of Michigan, spending 30 years there before retiring in September 2022. “In my early years of employment, I became a blood donor, volunteered at blood drives hosted by my church, and was passionate about our mission,” Char says. “I felt like I had the best of all worlds, helping others, hearing lifesaving stories and having a job I loved.”
For years, the blood drive organizers at her church asked Char to take over running the drives, and she finally said “yes” in 2006. “This was the start of a journey that I had no idea would be so rewarding,” she says. She hosted her first blood drive on Dec. 27, 2006, and quickly figured out that donors were more willing to make an appointment two months out instead of four or six months out. So, in 2011, she began scheduling six blood drives a year.
“I am humbled by the response from donors in the surrounding communities. Over the last 16 years, we have held 87 blood drives and collected 4,805 units of blood,” she says. “I have had the pleasure of watching a community come together to help save the lives of unknown patients. They donate with compassion for the recipient, as well as each other.”
Char herself recently donated her 11th gallon of blood and relishes her role as a blood drive organizer. “Outside of my kids and grandchildren, being a blood drive chairperson has been and continues to be the most rewarding experience of my 60+ years on this earth,” she says. “I have been blessed abundantly with a great employer, a caring community and dedicated donors.”
And she doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. “I do not see myself hanging up my donor chair hat anytime soon,” she says. “In fact, now that I am retired, I have a plan to grow my six blood drives a year.”
Char encourages people to get involved in Versiti’s lifesaving mission any way they can. “I am grateful for the opportunity and honored to be a blood drive chairperson for Versiti Blood Center of Michigan,” she says. “I would challenge everyone to be a gift of life to patients somewhere in the world, whether it’s by donating blood, being a blood drive chairperson or volunteering. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
People need people, make a difference in someone’s life by donating blood.
We must rely on each other for the gift of blood, and patients in your community rely on the generosity of Versiti’s blood donors to help. Please consider scheduling an appointment to donate. If this is your first time, donating blood is quick, easy and relatively painless. And, it is a great way to give back and help patients in your community.