MANCHESTER — Bruce Moran has given more than 85 gallons — yes, gallons — of blood and platelets over nearly six decades before turning over the baton to his teenage granddaughter.
“It’s time to pass the torch,” the Hollis grandfather of five said at an event Tuesday encouraging blood donations.
Moran, 77, has been donating since he was a teenager in Malden, Mass. before moving to New Hampshire in his early 20s. He donated blood about every eight weeks and platelets, which are cells found in blood and help in blood clotting, about every two weeks.
“I hope a lot of our donors shoot for 85 gallons,” said Mary Brant, communications manager for the American Red Cross’s Northern New England region.
“Bruce’s donations have helped thousands of patients in need,” said Brant, who would rank Moran in the top 5 percent in terms of donors.
Moran, previously named a Red Cross “everyday hero” for his decades of donations, had to stop donating last year for medical reasons.
Moran’s granddaughter, Mikaela Reagan, 17, was up for the challenge.
“I have quite a way to go to catch up with his record, but I’m definitely working on it, so I’m coming for you,” the Nashua teen told her grandfather.
The American Red Cross kicked off its “Missing Types” campaign nationwide Tuesday to remind people about the importance of donating blood.
“There a reason we do this in June: The summer months are the toughest months to collect blood and unfortunately, the people that need blood don’t get a summer vacation from needing it,” said Patrick Santoso, board chairman for the American Red Cross New Hampshire & Vermont region, at the Red Cross office in Manchester.
Alex Houle, 24, of Manchester, wasn’t connected to the event but was donating a pint. He has a friend battling cancer who receives blood transfusions.
“I think it’s good to give back,” Houle said.
Mayor Joyce Craig, who called herself “a proud blood donor,” told reporters just three out of 100 people in the United States donate blood.
Sandy Moreau, the regional lab director at Elliot Hospital and Southern New Hampshire Health, said she works steps from the blood center.
“Some days blood goes out faster than it comes in,” she said.
Maria Devlin, CEO of the Red Cross New Hampshire & Vermont region, said donating is life-changing.
“The campaign is really about helping people understand the importance of their blood to help save someone’s life,” she said.