Raymond Guillory and Gordon Buffington
When Raymond Guillory and Gordon Buffington first started donating plasma in 1967, they had no idea it would be the beginning of a life-long relationship with a new family and fellowship with a community of donors. Eager to do their part for the greater good, they began a journey together to help families, and have amassed 40 years of loyal and dedicated giving.
Guillory, a construction lineman from Sulphur, Louisiana, had donated blood and was identified as having a red cell antibody, the Anti-D. The blood center informed him that this antibody found in his plasma was needed to manufacture a vaccine that would help save newborn babies. He wanted to help, but was unsure about committing to donating plasma twice each week; and of receiving red blood cells from someone else to increase the strength of his antibody. His doctor confirmed that the process was safe and that donating plasma was a good thing. Guillory donated his first unit of plasma in January, l968 and has driven 80 miles, round trip, two times a week to donate after work. At age 74, he is still committed to the cause and, his wife of more than 50 years, Gussie, goes too. When asked why he decided to become a donor, Guillory replied, "to help better humanity." He said he has reaped benefits, that he never would have imagined forming friendships of a lifetime with staff and donors especially Gordon Buffington.
Gordon didn't have the antibody needed for Rh immune globulin, but was a good candidate for developing it. After being immunized several times and developing the Anti-D, Buffington, donated his first unit of plasma in January of l968. He is famous for his Cajun gumbo, which he shares with the plasma collection center staff. When asked how being a plasma donor has affected his life, Buffington says he has been enriched by associating with the people there. He continues, saying that being with the staff is like being with his grandchildren. Even new donors eventually get the hang of it and fit in, he notes. Why does Buffington still donate? "Because of the need," he insists. He also feels that donating is good for him; that it helps keep him young and in good physical shape. He says, too, that going into the center is like seeing and being with family several times a week.
Raymond and Gordon have silently and anonymously touched the lives of thousands of families worldwide. Their dedication is to help people; they believe that it is an opportunity and a responsibility, with no hourly parameter governing their willingness and generosity. And they continue to come and maintain the relationships developed over the decades, unique kinships that will keep them and others donating for years to come.