I’m a five-gallon blood donor. Every time a gallon donation is achieved, a pin is given to the donor marking the occasion. I have kept all five of my gallon milestone pins, which you can see in the picture below. It takes eight blood donations to reach a gallon, unless you are giving platelets or plasma which counts double. I’ve never taken the quick route to reach a gallon – it’s one pint at a time for me. When I donated blood on Tuesday this week, it marked 42 times at the Memorial Blood Center http://www.mbc.org/Home .
I’ve been donating to the Memorial Blood Centers since 1977, about once a year. For about the last ten years, I have given in April near my birthday and then again in October (you can actually give every 56 days). I missed giving in April this year so I’m making it up now. Below is a picture of me receiving my five-gallon pin on April 28, 2016.
I’ve often said that giving blood is the most unselfish thing that I do. I’m awfully proud about how unselfish and humble I am when I brag about giving blood. After I got my four-gallon pin several years ago, I wore my new pin to church. One of the older women of the church noticed my pin and said something like, “That’s nice Jerry. I’m a 23-gallon donor.” (Insert sound of a balloon deflating here.) I think 20-gallon donors should get as much recognition as police, firemen, and veterans.
Here is some information from Memorial Blood Centers. In 2016, they had over 62,000 unique donors donate more than 120,000 units of blood at their ten locations in Minnesota and one in Wisconsin. Only 38% of the population is eligible to give blood. Of that 38%, only 7% of all eligible donors give blood. This means blood banks have their work cut out for them making sure existing donors keep coming back to donate, and that potential donors have the opportunity to come in for their first donation.
Here is some information from me. If you can give blood, you should.
I wish there was a “Wear-Your-Blood-Donor-Pin” day so that the blood donors could easily be recognized. The World Health Organization sponsors a World Blood Donor Day which is on June 14th this year. I’m going to send them an email to suggest that they encourage people around the world to wear their blood donor pins on that day. I’ve decided to wear all five of mine. Since I’m now retired and won’t be going to work that day, I’ll have to find some prominent event to attend so I can humbly and unselfishly wear them.