DAYTON — Dayton donor Jim Ivory is feeling like a new man these days, thanks to a diet and exercise program that has helped him lose 80 pounds. But what really had him on top of the world Tuesday, Aug. 19 was making his milestone 300th lifetime blood donation at the downtown Dayton Community Blood Center (CBC).
Ivory reached his milestone with his regular platelet donation as he tries to donate platelets and plasma at least once a month. He wore a CBC t-shirt from the 2012 St. Patrick’s Day campaign, the same year he reached his milestone 250th lifetime donation. He was proud to say it’s a size he only recently could start wearing again.
“Last September I got into a program at the Huber Heights YMCA,” he said. “It’s call ActivTrax. I started out changing my diet and lost weight, but now I’ve lost 80 pounds. I used to ride the exercise bike for 15 minutes and have to quit. Now I go at least 40 minutes, for eight or nine miles.”
Jim said it helps to have the support of a group of friends who all exercise at the YMCA together. He works out three to four times a week, and always wears one of his many CBC t-shirts. He’s earned so many over the years the burgeoning supply inspired his wife Linda to try her hand at sewing a CBC t-shirt quilt.
“I remember my wife said, ‘I can’t fit any more t-shirts in the drawer! If you don’t like it I’m going to make a quilt!’ It was the first she ever made.” Jim showed the quilt to CBC staff in 2012 and it’s been hanging in the CBC Donor Room ever since.
Jim and Linda have three daughters and five grandchildren. He retired from Emory Worldwide in 2003. He’s the third oldest in a family of 11. When he made his 250th donation in 2012 he talked about first donating in high school, and how he was inspired by his mother who is the daughter of Polish immigrants to Dayton.
He will never forget hurrying with his mother to CBC to donate after the 1974 Xenia tornado struck, which killed 32 people and injured 1,300.
“I brought my mom down that night, and there were so many people crowded into the hallways you couldn’t move,” he said. “I remember a nurse opened a door from a stairway and said ‘Come this way.’ We ended up being the first to have blood drawn.”
Jim and his family have been life-long members of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish. He still sings in the church choir and volunteers helping seniors. He said his eighth grade class from the parish school just held its 50th reunion and 47 out of the 68 classmates attended.
Ivory is pleased to be healthy and a “Donor for Life,” but his real satisfaction comes from helping others.
“If I can make someone smile or laugh,” he said, “then my day is complete.”