Behind each blood donation made to the American Red Cross, there is a story. Each is as unique and diverse as the people who give blood. For Melissa Hoban, it was simply an unconditional act of kindness.
“Just the fact you’re saving lives. It’s amazing you can do that with such a simple act,” said Hoban, a resident of Clinton Township and a patent examiner at the U.S. Department of Commerce. “It seems almost selfish not to.”
Hoban dedicated her recent blood donation to a girl she had never met. It was part of a secret random acts of kindness pledge that she and her friends made in tribute to the girl, who passed away last September.
Hoban met the girl’s mother during an in-person get-together with mutual friends in July 2021. The group of 10 women bonded and have stayed in touch with each other via social media. It was during this time that Hoban learned the girl had a rare genetic disorder that develops in the first months of life and has a short life expectancy.
During the last several weeks, Hoban and her friends each performed seven random acts of kindness – the girl would have turned seven years old on March 2 – and posted them on their Facebook group page. To coincide with the birthday, the women shared their acts of service with the girl’s parents to show their endearing support. Other acts of service Hoban and her friends performed included making valentine cards for a hospital pediatric unit, donating cups of cereal and oatmeal to a children’s hunger program, and paying for someone else’s food order at a drive-thru restaurant.
“Donating blood is definitely an act of kindness. That is why I went this time,” said Hoban, whose husband also gave blood. “Some of the other women did as well.”
Hoban wants people to know that giving blood makes a difference for those who need it. The girl to whom she had dedicated her donation did not require blood transfusions for her disease.
“Just the idea that (blood) is so readily available, is amazing,” Hoban said. “When people need it, there it is.”