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Red-blooded American

He bleeds black, gold and red

Patrick Lee

Patrick Lee celebrates donating the last pint toward his 20th gallon of blood at Homecoming 2011.

Patrick Lee has portrayed Thomas Jefferson for 21 years as a speaker for convention audiences from Maine to Hawaii. One of his favorite Jefferson quotations is: “Nothing gives me more pleasure than to render any service in my power, of whatever description.” As a 17-year-old freshman in 1968, Lee didn’t know Jefferson’s stance on serving others, but he took a step in that direction by donating his first pint of blood at Mizzou. 

Lee, BS Ed ’72, saw posters around campus advertising the blood drive and hiked over to Memorial Union to do his part. “You had to be 18, but I lied about my age,” says the Ashland, Mo., resident. He has long since filled in the 16 blanks on his first donor card and plans to finish donating his 20th gallon of blood (160 donations of one pint) at Homecoming 2011. Mizzou’s student-run drive at Homecoming anchors a campus blood donation effort that nets about 8,400 units a year, making it one of the top three college-based programs nationwide. The program has collected more than 90,000 units since it started in 1985.

Over the years, donating blood has been so much a part of Lee’s routine that his daughters coined a phrase about it. “They’d say ‘Daddy’s going blooding,’ ” Lee says. That is always good news because he brings home cookies and other treats to share. He puts a reminder to give blood in his calendar about every eight weeks. “When that reminder shows up, I go do it again.” Lee’s habit has influenced his family as well — four of his six children and his wife have given blood at least once. The other two children aren’t old enough yet.

“Maybe this article will inspire others to give it a try,” he says. “We’re on this earth to serve others. I’m a Christian. I know that Jesus shed his blood for everyone, and he said, ‘Follow me.’ In this way, I shed a little bit of blood to help someone else.”

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