Liberty High senior becomes DeGowin Blood Center’s first two-time Gallon Graduate

Liberty High School senior Scott Dill said he never set out to be a Gallon Grad — but has given blood 16 times in the past year.


(Wyatt Dlouhy/The Daily Iowan)

Liberty High School senior Scott Dill poses for a portrait in front of the school in North Liberty on Friday, October 18, 2019. Dill is DeGowin Blood Center’s first student to donate two gallons of blood before graduation.

Rylee Wilson, News Reporter

For Liberty High School senior Scott Dill, donating blood is just another part of his busy after-school routine as a senior.

Dill is the first-ever two-time Gallon Graduate at the University of Iowa’s DeGowin Blood Center, with a total of 16 blood donations before he’s graduated from high school. He is also Liberty High’s first Gallon Graduate, or eight-time donor.

However, Dill said becoming a Gallon Graduate was never the goal. He began donating blood last spring following his participation in a blood drive at Liberty High in North Liberty. Dill said the feeling that came from doing something good for others kept bringing him back to give blood.

“The people over at DeGowin were so flexible, and they just wanted you to go in if you were ever able to,” he said. “I started going more in the summer because I had more free time, and the differences that it made just motivated me to keep going.”

Dill’s older brother got sick last spring, so his family spent a lot of time at UI Hospitals and Clinics. Dill said the experience motivated him to keep donating through the summer.

“We got to experience what a lot of families at the hospital feel like, and that part really sucked,” he said. “Being at the hospital, seeing all the other families that want to help everybody, motivated me to do whatever I can to help the patients and the patients’ families.”

DeGowin’s Gallon Grad program has been in place since 2014. The first student graduated from Solon High School, and Donor Center Supervisor Kerry DuBay said a total of 47 high-school students have given blood to DeGowin eight times before graduation.

DeGowin hosts blood drives at seven high schools around the Iowa City area, although students from any school are welcome to participate, DuBay said.

She added that many Gallon Grads continue to give blood after graduating high school — especially students who go on to attend the UI.

“While donating, they come to understand just how important their donation is and how much patients at UIHC and University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital rely on them,” DuBay said in an email to The Daily Iowan.

Encouraging students to donate while they are in high school is the best time to promote blood donations, DeGowin’s Blood Drive Coordinator Jessica Hinrichs said.

“Our high school population is so important — they know the importance of giving back,” Hinrichs said.

Donating blood early can help students to get over the fear that many associate with needles, Hinrichs said.

“When you’re younger, we have a lot of donors coming in, and they’re scared. There’s always that stigma around donating,” she said. “A lot of our young donors … by the second or third time, they’re getting rid of that fear.”

RELATED: Polar winds lead to critically low blood donations

Dill plans to attend the UI next fall to study elementary education with hopes to participate in Dance Marathon. He said he wants to continue donating blood to DeGowin.

“In the future, I want to donate bigger things. I talked about donating bone marrow — donating doesn’t hurt me at all,” Dill said. “It takes about two hours out of my day, and that’s it. There are people going through so much worse than just a little needle stick.”