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NIAGARA FALLS – Wednesday is Barbara J. Rodgers’ birthday, but she’s not looking for gifts for herself; she wants to give a gift of life to others.

“I would like to see more than 100 units of blood donated to celebrate the day,” Rodgers said at Niagara Falls High School, where she is the media specialist. Students and staff are participating in a blood collection drive from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center.

“Since the blood drive falls on my birthday, there will be lots of cake, gift cards, store discounts and a cash certificate to be raffled off closer to prom time,” Rodgers said.

She said that the drive is being organized by UNYTS and that all the blood collected is used by patients in Western New York.

Rodgers, who will turn 62 on Wednesday, said, “My dad was a huge Yankees fan. I hope some Little Leaguer is sliding into second base because of the decision my mom made seven years ago. Donating blood, for me, is a spiritual experience. I feel close to my dad when I give.”

She said 114 students have signed, and she hopes enough more will sign up so that UNYTS will have to send additional staff. As part of the UNYTS “Donate Life” Club, her motto for this year’s birthday and blood drive is: “I donate!! Do you?? It does matter!”

email: rbaldwin@buffnews.com