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Calvin DeShields continues donating 10 years after he first gave in high school

Calvin DeShields first donated whole blood when he was a student at William Penn High School in 1998, his first lesson in how much the simple act of donating blood helps people.

William Penn’s annual, two-day blood drive is the biggest BBD holds among high schools in the Delmarva Peninsula, drawing 300 donors.

Several of BBD’s high school donors go on to become life-long donors. That includes Concord (Pa.) Donor Center regular Gary Martin, who first donated at Claymont High School in 1975, and 2017 Seaford graduates Kurtis Webber and Cheyanne Toomey, who came back to donate at their alma mater in November.

It’s the same with DeShields, who remembered his initial experience with William Penn. He took a little break while studying at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. But, when he completed his studies he came back to the Blood Bank of Delmarva.

“I graduated in 2003 and when I came back a year later to the area I figured I might as well get back into it,” DeShields said. “I like to help people out. If I was in a bad situation, it would be nice to know somebody was looking out for me. I’ll help somebody out if I can. I’m happy to help out.

“I actually started doing platelets near the end of last year. I figure, if you have a couple of hours to kill, why not?” he said. “Lucky for me, I usually have two days off each week. And, really, everybody should have time to donate at least twice a year.”

DeShields, born in 1981, thinks using visuals, such as a video, is the best way to recruit more young people into the donor chairs.

“Show them who donating helps,” DeShields said. “Let them realize that if they were in that position, they would like to know somebody is donating for them too.”

If you would like to be like Calvin DeShields and donate whole blood or platelets, please call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8 or visit