TROY, NY (NEWS10) — This could be a Hollywood story: The hockey goalie wins the girl’s heart, but she’s the one making hundreds of saves. It’s not a movie, though. It’s a true Troy love story that’s sure to inspire you to roll up your sleeves.
When NEWS10 ABC’s Lydia Kulbida sat down with Jeanne and Jim Carras in Troy, they shared photos and stories from their long relationship together. They met at a hockey game. Since this meeting until today, Jim and Jeanne have just celebrated 35 years of marriage.
Jim recalls: “I was a goalkeeper and she has this deep love of goalkeepers. And it was this deep love for goalkeepers that led to their own enduring love.
As part of his work as a photographer, Jim had taken a photo of Jeanne’s favorite goalie, Gilles Gilbert, and offered her this photo when he knew she would see him. When Jeanne gave Gilles the photo to sign, she said: “He looks at it with this little Quebec accent, he goes: ‘Where do you get that? It’s old.’ I said a guy I barely knew at the time knew how much I adored you, and he took it and he gave it to me, and he said “Wow, that was good”, and I said it was so good that I married him!”
During the early years of their marriage, Jeanne continued a habit she had started in high school: donating blood. Then came the news that no one wants to hear: Jim had cancer.
“That’s when I started having regular appointments when he was sick,” she told NEWS10. “Because if there were no people giving, those people would die.”
Jeanne started a remarkable record: giving tablets every other Sunday like clockwork, for 20 years.
“I believe this one is 365,” she said as she was hooked up to the machine extracting the platelets from her blood. No matter the weather or a pandemic, Jeanne is in her chair at the Red Cross just after 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning.
“I always tell people, I give out platelets, what’s your superpower,” Jeanne chuckled.
Blood flows out of one arm, the cancer patients’ life-saving platelets removed, before the blood is re-injected into the other arm. Jeanne posts every donation on Facebook but says, “I don’t do it for the likes. I want people to see that it’s an important thing to do.
She calls multiple needle sticks her badge of honor.
“I’ve had people say to me ‘oh my God, I don’t know how you do it. I hate needles. Well, I hate cancer. Jeanne clarifies: ‘perspective’.
In a few months, Jim and Jeanne will celebrate 15 years without cancer. But by the time you watch this story, Jeanne will have spent another three hours helping someone she will never meet. Every 15 seconds someone needs platelets.
Mary Alice Molgard, speaking on behalf of the American Red Cross, said: “The platelet donations help us to help people who are already in a somewhat difficult situation, a faceless person there. She brings something that improves that person’s life.
As she continues her series of donations, Jeanne said: “Everyone’s story is different, why they do it. They do it in memory of someone, they do it because they can love me.
And sometimes it hits close to home again, like when Jim’s young cousin Markell had blood cancer, who died in 2018.
“She spent more time with her family because there were donors like me,” Jeanne said. As Jim added, “there are a lot of cancer survivors because people make a conscious effort, like Jeannie, to do something good with it.”
And that’s a save to celebrate.
As Jim shone the spotlight on Jeanne, “She’s the hero,” she replied no. But Jim insisted: “Without her, I am not here.
Blood and platelets are needed during the national blood shortage. To donate, contact the Northeast New York Chapter by calling (518) 458-8111 or online to schedule an appointment.
They have hours available on Thursday February 10th and Friday February 11th. There is also information about upcoming blood drives in Niskayuna on Saturday February 12 and in Rensselaer on Monday February 14.