Blood drive in memory of volunteer

This 2012 photo shows Ruby DeCosta being honored by the American Red Cross for her longtime volunteer services. A blood drive in her name Friday and Saturday will honor her. –CONTRIBUTED

This 2012 photo shows Ruby DeCosta being honored by the American Red Cross for her longtime volunteer services. A blood drive in her name Friday and Saturday will honor her. –CONTRIBUTED

PROSPECT — From a corner of heaven, Ruby DeCosta will be cheering donors during this week’s blood drive.

The Ruby DeCosta Memorial American Red Cross Blood Drive will be held on Friday and Saturday at the Prospect Firehouse, 26 New Haven Road. It’s named in memory of the town’s most dedicated volunteer, who died March 14 at the age of 98.

Years before her death the bimonthly blood drive began to be called “Ruby’s Drive” locally. That’s because DeCosta volunteered for the event for nearly four decades, personally making hundreds of phone calls to donors and she personally baked goods served at the blood drives.

For her many years of service and dedication to the blood drive DeCosta was honored with the Presidents Volunteer Service award. She was inducted into the Fenwal Inc. Donation Hall of Fame in 2012.

DeCosta began her volunteer work after her brother had a kidney transplant and needed blood. She decided to call a few people, organizing her first blood drive in 1976. Over the years she was responsible for more than 25,000 blood donations. She told the Republican-American in 2012 that even though she officially retired from full-time service at the blood drives, she continued to make 900 to 1,000 phone calls to donors every two months.

The Red Cross reports that “Ruby’s Drive” has been one of the most successful blood drives in the state. DeCosta helped save the lives of 75,000 patients in need through her volunteer work, according to Red Cross.

Even though DeCosta worked hard and accomplished so much, one goal eluded her. She wanted to collect 200 units of blood in a single drive.

“She got to 170 something,” Mayor Robert Chatfield said.

To reach that goal, the blood drive will be held over two days on Friday and Saturday. Chatfield is lending a hand to the effort by sending out a message to residents over the phone, to remind them to donate.

“I feel pretty confident, we’re going to make 200,” Chatfield said.

The Ruby DeCosta Memorial American Red Cross Blood Drive will be from 8:30 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. to noon Saturday. To make an appointment, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call (800) 733-2767.

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