WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – James McAleer of West Springfield has touched so many lives during the more than 20 years he’s been devoted to giving blood platelets.
“I remember there was a high school blood drive when I was 17 years old at Classical High School. It was just something that came natural to me that I wanted to make a difference in the community,” said James.
Since that time, James has donated more than 200 units, equal to 25 gallons of his blood. His commitment, and the recognition he’s received, are a source of pride to his wife Caroline.
“When I heard that he was being nominated for Hometown Hero award, I just, my heart just jumped, and I said wow, I’m so excited for him,” said Caroline. “He won’t give himself a pat on the back because he just naturally wants to give of himself.”
James, who’s employed as a vocational rehabilitation counselor, has a philosophy about who benefits from his platelet donations. “We all have a responsibility, I think, to the greater community; we never know when it might hit home personally.”
Michelle Pereira of Ludlow would like to feel that James’ gift of life helped her 4 year old son Xavier when the child was stricken with Leukemia. Xavier no longer needs the blood transfusions.
“It did save my son’s life. He was 2 years old, and that night, I’ll never forget, I thought I was going to the hospital just for a transfusion, unfortunately it was the first of many,” said Michelle. “It takes a very special person to be so committed and so dedicated to give blood. It’s time out of their day, their lives and they’re doing it selflessly; they’re doing it for somebody and they don’t even know who they’re doing it for.”
The Western Massachusetts Red Cross chapter will honor James McAleer at the Hometown Heroes Breakfast the morning of March 17th.
Other 2016 Hometown Heroes: