Dean W. • Jacksonville, FL
I am a 90 gallon donor (more than 720 units). I started donating just like most other folks - a family member needed blood. My wife's dad was having heart by-pass surgery way back in 1975. And just like all normal people I was not too fond of needles either but I ratcheted up the nerve and went any way. His surgery went well and I went on about life without giving another thought to donating blood for a few years but then I started doing whole blood on a rather regular basis. Once I started giving platelets I stayed on a regular schedule and soon was at the multiple gallon level. I continued for several years and shortly after making the 10 gallon level I decided that I had done my part for humanity and after my next appointment (in a week or so) I was going to quit. Shortly after making the decision and discussing it with my wife I got a call asking if I would come donate. They there was a child locally that was receiving product on a frequent basis and had started rejecting the transfused platelets but that my HLA and MHC was the closest match available here and that they needed me before my next appointment to give for this child. I donated for that child 2 or 3 more times in a fairly short period of time and each time someone from the hospital was waiting to take the product to the hospital for transfusion.
As I reflected on the turn of events I determined that a power greater than I was trying to tell me that what I was doing was bigger than my personal interests and comfort. It was then that I decided to continue donating on a regular basis as long as my health and other determining factors made it possible. So now here we are some 80 gallons later and I am still healthy and there are Wednesday morning appointments at 7:00 and the Crew (donors and staff) and I are still showing up to get probed and prodded by the vampires to produce that liquid gold needed so by someone else. Even though my father-in-law had successful surgery by in 1975; some 28 years later he developed leukemia and needed platelets as regular treatment and I was again able to help extend his life a few more months. If you know someone who is able to donate encourage them to do so please - only we can do it! There is no other source and no substitutes.