Jim Hotop has been donating blood for a long time, 49 years to be exact. He has the donor cards to prove it, dating all the way back to 1972. With all those years of donating, Hotop has gathered plenty of the shirts that accompany each donation and pint. He mentioned that he has more than 30 shirts.
So, what’s a person to do with all those shirts? For Hotop, the answer was simple.Under the direction of his sister Tess Miller and Ann Moran who made the quilt itself, Hotop had 25 shirts made into a king-sized bedspread.
“I thought the quilt turned out great,” Hotop said. “They said that I donated the blood so they would donate the time.”
Hotop spent part of his afternoon Tuesday at the Perry Park Center donating another pint of blood at a Red Cross blood drive, which helped him reach the 26-gallon plateau. In all, Hotop has donated 208 pints.
“The Red Cross needs the blood,” Hotop said. “My mother had high blood pressure and got started and talked me into doing it, and I just never stopped. My youngest sister was anemic and my dad was anemic and my other sisters had to quit. It’s become sort of a family thing. Some of my nieces and nephews have started giving, too.”
Along with Jim, his mother Violet gave 112 pints before she passed away and the tradition carried on through the immediate family. Of Hotop’s immediate relatives they have given more than 550 pints, which is the equivalent to 69 gallons.
“I always felt good about two or three days after I gave,” Hotop said.
Hotop has donated in many places such as Jackson, Perryville, Frohna, and Ste. Genevieve.
“I try to stay close to Perry County,” Hotop said.
Tara Lincoln the organizer of Tuesday’s Red Cross Blood drive handed Hotop his 26-gallon pin after he was finished in just under five minutes and what does he do with all of them?
He keeps them all together in a drawer in his home.
“I am very proud of all the blood I have given that I want to keep all the information together,” Hotop said.
Hotop will continue to give blood as long as he his able, probably because of all the health benefits he has found that it has.
“Each pint weighs one pound, and with all the blood I have given over the years, it has helped,” Hotop said, “Although my wife says that it doesn’t really show.”