Have you heard the news? Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC) is welcoming back previously deferred donors who lived in Europe. It comes after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its guidance regarding Creutzfeldt-Jakob (or Mad Cow) disease.

One of those returning donors is Kerry Clougher. She had been a regular donor after learning her boyfriend, now husband, also donated.

“It was something we would do together and I always left feeling like maybe I saved someone’s life today! How often can you say that?”

Kerry had been deferred after living in the U.K. and Europe in the mid 80’s. While Kerry loved that time in her life, this means she fell into one of the groups that was deferred for potential exposure to Mad Cow disease.

Kerry first learned she may be eligible again thanks to her daughter Zoe. She had heard rumblings of the change and told her mom, who had been anxiously waiting to give again. It was during that time RIBC was hard at work with recruitment efforts. Kerry would soon receive a letter in the mail confirming she could once again be eligible to donate.

“When the letter arrived clearing me to donate, I was all in!”

Kerry returned to donate in March. The staff was ready to welcome her back.

“I’ll be honest with you, I don’t like needles but the nurses were great, they make the process easy and quick. And then there are always the goodies to look forward to!”

She tells RIBC she was a little nervous but knew this simple act could help someone in her community.

“I think of someone I know who is sick and hope that I’m helping in some small way, maybe not to that specific person but someone who is suffering just the same.”

Donating blood takes less than an hour and you could help save up to three lives. For Kerry, the decision to return to donate was an easy one. She has a simple message to those considering it.

“Fear of needles is real, I get it! But don’t let that stop you. I Practice ‘Mind Over Matter.”

To learn if you are eligible to donate or book your next appointment, head over to our website ribc.org/donate or call our medical team at 401-453-8307