Decades of blood donations have put two men from the Great Lakes Bay Region each at the 30 gallon mark.
75-year-old Robert King of Bay City and 55-year-old Frank Marcello of Hemlock believe in helping others whenever possible. Both men visited the Michigan Blood Saginaw Donor Center at 1771 Tittabawassee Rd. Tuesday, Dec. 13, each donating a pint of plasma and platelets, making a combined total of 60 gallons of blood, platelets and plasma. They were given a pin and a certificate in recognition of their contributions and cake once they were finished.
Michigan Blood Community Relations Coordinator Tamar Chipp says their donations have impacted hundreds of lives.
“Altogether, they’ve touched about 1,400 lives… 700 lives were touched per person, so it’s outstanding.”
After donating blood, the body takes time to replenish what it lost. Chipp says how long you should wait before donating again depends on what was donated.
“For whole blood donors, every 56 days they can donate. For these individuals, they donate every 2-4 weeks. They donate blood components, so between the two of them, they donate platelets and plasma.”
King, originally from Ypsilanti, first started giving blood after he left the Vietnam War in 1965 to help soldiers who were wounded on the battlefield. He says his motto is to give rather than receive.
“This is number one for me. Some people really need it… If they do, let me know. If I have to leave here to go to some other city, I’ll do that if it’s necessary to save that life.”
King is one of the region’s top African-American donors. He says over the next six or seven years he hopes to have donated 50 gallons.
Marcello started donating blood when he was 17 in Minnesota. The independent crop consultant calls it a blessing from God to help others. He encourages everyone who is able to donate to do so.
“Look around. Look at the age difference on the people that are here. You can donate when you’re 18, you can donate when you’re 80. You sit down in a reclining chair, it only takes a brief amount of time and you help a lot of people. It’s a great opportunity to help people in the Michigan community.”
Chipp says much of blood collected at the Saginaw center is used in local hospitals, though the donations have an impact around the state as well. To make an appointment for blood donations at the Michigan Blood Saginaw Donor Center, call (989) 755-5387.