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  • Writer's pictureNEIA Red Cross

Quilt Commemorates 96 Gallons of Blood Donated

On a balmy autumn day, Doug Dewaele drove the 45 minutes from rural Iowa to Omaha, Nebraska, to give blood, as he’d done for years. However, this day was unlike any other because Dewaele's donation would yield 96 gallons; and his family was there to surprise him. His granddaughter, Sydney Austin, presented him with a quilt made from his collection of Red Cross blood donor t-shirts.

Dewaele shares a moment with his granddaughter.

“He had a bunch of his Red Cross t-shirts from over the years," said Austin. “I cut the t-shirts and put the design together.”

Dewaele began giving blood in high school, but stopped when his job regularly kept him on the road. He became a regular donor again once he stopped traveling. Honoring the lives of his father and brother, who died from cancer, keep Dewaele motivated to make the 90-minute round-trip regularly to donate. Austin added that the people Dewaele met through donating blood keep him coming back.

A quilt made from Dewaele's Red Cross donor t-shirts.

“It’s his routine now,” she said. “He doesn’t miss a chance to give his blood.”

Dewaele is humble about his blood donation. He was overcome when his family and Red Cross staff were there to celebrate his heroic donation milestone. When asked what he thought when Austin presented him with his quilt, he laughed and said, “Just wow. It was overwhelming.”

Dewaele and Austin (center) with their family and the quilt.

Dewaele believes blood donation is the right thing to do. He encourages his family and friends to donate when they can. He said, “If you can help somebody out in their time of need, well then, that’s what we should do.”

To learn more about blood donation, or to schedule an appointment to give blood, visit

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