84-Year-Old Man Gives 100 Gallons Of Blood Over 35 Years, Says `I’m Still Here, So I Keep Donating’

By Staff Reporter | October 21, 2013 10:28 PM EDT


An 84-year-old Florida man donated 100 gallons of blood over the last 35 years and he shows no sign of slowing.

The American Red Cross website states, "You don't need a special reason to give blood. You just need your own reason."

The man who gave 100 gallons of blood, Harold Mendenhall, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., started donating blood when his wife was diagnosed with cancer. He says he continued giving blood to help him cope with her death.

Mendenhall explained, "For some reason, I'm still here and I'm grateful. That's one of the rEvery two seconds, a patient in the United States is in need of blood. This equates to thirty people every minute and eighteen hundred people an hour. The easons I keep donating."

Every two seconds, a patient in the United States is in need of blood. That's about thirty people a minute or 1,800 people an hour. The number one reason donors say they give blood is because they "want to help others."

The man reached the 100 gallon milestone last month. Mendenhall has type O positive blood. He says he started giving blood when he learned that his wife, Frankie, was diagnosed with breast cancer on July 7, 1977. When his wife succumbed to the disease seven years later, he found that donating blood helped him deal with the loss. Mendenhall said he continued to donate blood to help him heal the emotional loss of losing two of his five children.

Mendenhall said he felt lost after the deaths and began donating up to 40 pints of blood a year. He told reporters he would stop by the One Blood blood bank in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., every two weeks on his way home from work. Mendenhall usually gave platelets rather than whole blood. Platelets are small cells in the blood that help with clotting. Platelets are especially treasured by health care professionals. The process for platelet donors takes between 90 minutes and two hours. Platelet donors give two pints per donation instead of one and can give every two weeks instead of eight weeks.

Mendenhall said his blood center visits also help him monitor his health. He said, "It's like getting a check-up every two weeks.” When he gives blood, his blood is submitted for 13 tests for conditions like West Nile virus. Staff members also check his blood pressure and other vital signs.

Making a donation for your own use during surgery is considered a medical procedure that requires a written prescription and the rules for eligibility are less strict than for regular volunteer donations.

Mendenhall said, "Giving blood can only be done by a human being, so that’s been my payback for my career and my good health and all the blessings I’ve had.”

Tagged :  world news, 100%, gallons, of, blood, over, 35, years


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