KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Although blood donations are typically anonymous, donors and recipients came together on Wednesday.
Around 600 people showed up to the Community Blood Center's luncheon to honor people who have made more than 100 blood donations, and also to hear the stories of recipients who might not have been here today without them.
"These things they started eating my cells, so I needed new blood," said seven-year-old Clara Peters.
She was diagnosed with severe Aplastic Anemia, a bone marrow failure disease, and needed blood transfusions.
"Her life depended on other people donating," said Peters' mom, Jessica.
She says they were scared her rare blood type, AB, wouldn’t be available when she needed it.
"It's a very terrifying feeling as a parent to watch your child's blood counts dropping dangerously low and not know if the blood will be available," Jessica said.
Peters and her family shared their story at Wednesday's Annual Celebration of Giving Luncheon for the Community Blood Center, and showed their support for the donors who attended.
"It would have been impossible without blood donors and those transfusions," added Jessica.
People who have donated more than 100 times were recognized at the luncheon, as well as businesses who have held the most blood drives.
"I started donating back in 1980 when my wife needed surgery, needed blood, and I said, ‘why don't I do this?’" said Ron Masders, who has been donating ever since.
He was honored for being a part of the 20 gallon club. He's donated 22 gallons of blood or 176 times.
"It makes me feel good, because you know, somebody out there needs blood all the time, and you just have to make sure if you have good blood, make sure somebody gets it," Masders added.
Peters and her family are thankful for people like Masders. She's now making all her own blood cells and has a normal blood count.
"I wish I could give each of the people that donated to my daughter a big hug because they'll never know how much they meant to me and to our family," said Jessica.
"It was really nice of them, even though they don't know me, they gave me blood," said Peters.
The Community Blood Center needs 580 donors each day to meet area hospitals' needs. It depends on donors to save lives in our community.
CLICK HERE for information on donating blood.