Achievement unlocked

Last Monday I made another donation to what is now called Bloodworks Northwest (formally Puget Sound Blood Center). My online account with them goes back to 12/17/1998. It was my 80th pint on record with them. Ten gallons:


I knew it was going to be my 10th gallon and Barb wanted to celebrate. I raised an eyebrow. She elaborated, “There should be a parade or something.”


“I’ll blog about it”, I told her.

I have speculated before that perhaps I had donated close to a couple gallons to the Red Cross as well. I found an old Red Cross donor card:


Two units are indicated on the front and eight on the back for a total of 10 units or one gallon and two pints. I was pretty sure this wasn’t all. So I went looking online. I created an account with my birthday and what I figured was the last zip code they had for me. Bingo! They said I had donated 13 units (about 1.5 gallons):


I looked through the donation history but they only went back to April 2, 2002.

My first donation was in the mid 70’s when I was in college. I think I participated in more than one blood drive at college and donated when I worked at Boeing and Teltone in the late 70’s. I’m sure I donated at blood drives while at Data I/O in the early 80’s. I know I donated during Operation Desert Storm (early 1991) because I remember standing in line for a couple hours. And so… I don’t really know how many gallons I have donated but it is probably over 12 and perhaps close to 15.

When I was probably about 10 years old my Uncle Alden had stomach ulcer which he didn’t know about. He got very ill before his family insisted he see a doctor. An ambulance took him to the hospital (only getting up the snow covered driveway to the county road with help from either Uncle Jack or cousin Alan with the Jeep pickup). He needed several pints of blood and Dad and some of the neighbors went into town to donate in his name. Dad saw one of the neighbors there, (I’m not sure of his name, it could have been Walt Eberhart) but Dad reported back that over the years the neighbor had donated 10 gallons. This impressed Dad as well as the rest of our family.

At some point it became my goal to donate 10 gallons.

Achievement unlocked.


10 thoughts on “Achievement unlocked

  1. Congratuations! I don’t know how many gallons I’ve donated over the years, but my first time was back in college in maybe 1981. I have donated to a variety of organizations and have a stack of old cards as well. I usually donate 2x a year when it is convenient. They send me an email while I am eligible again, but I am in now rush. I think I’m over 50 donations, but I have no way of knowing the actual number. In any event, I find it very rewarding. It is easy to do and I wonder why more people don’t do it.

  2. Congratulations from me as well. I’m up to 7 gallons, 3 pints at this point, most of it at Stanford blood bank locations. Now that I’m in Idaho, I go to the Red Cross center in Boise. (I’m O-neg, CMV-neg, so they welcome me every time!)

  3. Do they post pictures of the 10-gal donors? If so, what are the demographics?

    I remember seeing somewhere that the red cross had stopped doing that because they were nearly all white men, and therefore “racist.”

    Yeah, the logic escapes me, too.

  4. Worse than that, because of FDA rules blood donors are all straight!

    I’d guess 90% of 80 unit (10 gallon) donors are male and over 40.. At 6 units a year (max) you need 14 years of constant donations to make 80. When I was training hard in Aikido the two weeks after a blood donation were pretty hard, I could feel the loss in stamina.

    I went over 80 units last year and nobody cared at the donor center… They want double-unit donations or plasma/platelets now. Whole blood single unit donations seem to be out of favor.

  5. Good job, Joe!

    Got this done yesterday after a one-year hiatus imposed by having contact with someone else’s blood. Not sure where I stand after 20 years on-and-off with Bloodworks. They’re nice folks, for a bunch of vampires.

    Back in the 20th Century I was donating at work. They asked if a trainee could stick me. Sure. Gotta start somewhere. And the blood went GUSH! in not-so-slow motion all across his lab coat. I decided to call it a day, but didn’t let it stop me from donating again. And again. And again.

  6. You (Joe) and the rest of you donors are all better people than me. I remember my Dad when he got his 3 Gallon pin. And my brother used to have a “give blood! Play Rugby!” bumper sticker. He did both. Even my 17 YO has donated more pints than me!

    I hate needles* so I have donated a total of 0 (zero) pints.

    But I used to fly blood donations around the state for the local blood services! They’d have a blood drive in some far off corner of the state and rather than take the 5-8+ hour road trip, I joined a bunch of volunteer pilots that would fly out and bring it back to Phoenix for processing.

    Thank you all for donating!

    • Thank you for saying that. I don’t really agree with it, but thanks for the thought.

      Not everyone is able to donate. I know a person who passed out when she tried to donate and was basically “out of action” for a half day or so trying to recover. Another woman had her veins constrict and the flow stopped. She tried to donate at least twice with the same result.

      I have large veins. It’s easy to get the needle in and once the flow starts I’m done in about six minutes. My kids have an easy time donating too.

      I don’t want to give anyone a guilt trip about donating. It’s easy for me and I kind of like this type of charity work. I don’t like many other types of charity. I can give in a way that is difficult or uncomfortable for many and they can give, if they so desire, in other ways.

      But I don’t think it is correct to say I am a better person than others simply because I have been a regular donor.

  7. Were you a progressive, you wouldn’t donate any of your own blood to others.

    You would insist, however, that all other citizens be required to donate or pay a fine, under force of law. For the children.

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