Anita Collins and Angie Hurd McDowell, Kentucky

Eastern Kentucky Twins Were 'Raised Right'

Twin sisters Anita Collins and Angie Hurd have been donating blood together since high school because their mom and teachers taught them it's the right thing to do.

Even after 52 years, there are few things twin sisters Angie Hurd and Anita Collins don’t do together.

They came into this world seven minutes apart, they grew up side by side, and they live just a few minutes down the road from one another. 

They even donate blood together.

That lifesaving bond began in high school 34 years ago. McDowell High School was hosting a blood drive, and the sisters were starting to come into their own.

“We registered to vote that same week, so I guess we were doing adult stuff,” Angie said. “The teachers we had were my motivation. They were really good role models, and they encouraged us, the senior class, to donate. It just started from there.”

Said Anita: “It was easy to do, I remember that. I remember being really nervous about it and then when it was over, I was like, you know, that wasn’t very hard. That’s something I could continue to do.”

And continue to donate they have – oftentimes together.

Over the last four decades, they’ve donated regularly for Big Blue Crush. They have frequented the McDowell Appalachian Regional Hospital mobile drive. They rushed in to give blood when planes struck the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

One of their favorite things to do together is to make the 35-minute drive into town and give blood at the Pikeville Donor Center. When their mother could still donate, she’d join them and make a day out of it – a little shopping, some lunch and lifesaving donations together.

Their mother can no longer give because of health reasons, but her influence played a big role in the twins becoming lifelong donors.

“Mom raised us right,” Anita said.

Angie and Anita donate because they were taught to “do the right thing for no reason,” but Anita’s health scare a few years ago reinforced the importance.

Anita was experiencing extreme fatigue, to the point where she could barely walk to her mailbox in the front yard without getting winded. A visit to the doctor revealed Anita’s hemoglobin was at seven, well below the normal range of 12-15 for a female.

“Knowing who gets the blood is important to me,” Anita said. “I needed it. I really didn’t know who got the blood after donating it. I thought it was only for like car wrecks and surgeries, but knowing it was people like me, that’s motivated me even more – to help others.”

Angie recently made her first platelet donation on her own while her sister was sidelined with anemia. She said the Pikeville staff walked her through every step of the process, but what surprised and delighted her to hear was how beneficial platelets are to cancer patients. Angie and Anita’s family and friends have been impacted by cancer.

“You never know when someone might need blood or someone you know might need it,” Angie said. “A little needle is nothing compared to what you would do for someone you loved.”

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About Kentucky Blood Center

Celebrating 55 years of saving lives in Kentucky, KBC is the largest independent, full-service, nonprofit blood center in Kentucky. Licensed by the FDA, KBC’s sole purpose is to collect, process and distribute blood for patients in Kentucky. KBC provides services in 90 Kentucky counties and has donor centers in Lexington, Louisville, Frankfort, Pikeville, Somerset and the Tri-County area.