Yarmouth woman’s Christmas blood drive fights shortage, honors late husband

YARMOUTH (WGME) – The Red Cross says it’s still facing blood shortages and says the holiday season is one of the slowest times for blood donations.

One Yarmouth woman is working to urge her neighbors give the gift of life this holiday season.

“These people here giving blood and helping out and doing what they’re doing, I just say kudos to them,” said Terry Flaherty, who organized the blood drive. “They’re doing wonderful work.”

Flaherty has organized a Christmas blood drive every year since 2011, offering a hug and a homemade cookie to each and every donor. Her way of saying thank you to what she calls the best Christmas gift you can give.

“This is my mission,” said Flaherty. “I just keep doing it as long as I can do it,.”

The Red Cross is thankful for her passion. According to a spokesperson, one American is in need of blood every two seconds and supply often comes up short.

“There is a patient who is waiting for that blood, who needs that blood, and by your generosity, you are truly giving them another holiday with their family and it’s just priceless,” said Jennifer Costa, regional communications director with the American Red Cross.

Flaherty knows exactly what that feeling is: 12 years ago, her husband and longtime Portland firefighter Tim Flaherty passed away from cancer. But she says she got a little extra time with him all thanks to blood transfusions.

“We were high school sweethearts,” said Flaherty. “We met in high school. He was a quiet guy; he was the salt of the earth in the fire department and in our community. Just one of those great guys you know and unfortunately taken too soon,” she said.

Ever since her husband passed away, Terry has held the drive in her husband’s honor, bringing in longtime donors of friends, neighbors, and Portland firefighters.

“You feel like you’re doing your part,” said Portland firefighter John Hardy. “I know it’s important for them to fill these beds and it’s the least we can do.”

And in 12 years of donations, the Red Cross says Flaherty’s efforts have helped save 600 lives.

“He’d be happy knowing that people are benefiting from blood like he did,” said Flaherty. “And they’re able to live a little longer and spend time with their families like he did.”