75-gallon donor's advice: "Give all you can."


Posted on 02/22/2018

“Give all you can.” That was Virgil Olson’s advice to others Thursday as he became the first blood donor at Bonfils Blood Center’s Boulder community donor center to reach the 75-gallon donation milestone and only the 7th Bonfils blood donor overall to do so.

Blood Systems Vice President of Performance Improvement Mark Thompson awarded Olson with a 75-gallon donor lapel pin at his donation Thursday. The 85-year-old Olson has no plans to stop donating any time soon.

“I started donating back in the ‘60s,” Olson said. “It’s a very easy process. I hope to keep it up for many more years as long as I’m healthy.”

Like the majority of blood donors, Olson donated whole blood on Thursday. However, he is a frequent platelet donor. Platelets have only a five-day shelf life and are used to help cancer patients, to treat blood disorders, in open-heart surgery and in organ transplants. Platelets also regenerate much more quickly than red blood cells, allowing Olson to donate as many as 24 times per year. While donors are asked to allow an hour when giving whole blood, platelet donors can expect to spend between two and three hours at a donation center.

Whether it’s your first donation or your 600th, every blood donor makes a lifesaving difference. Appointments are preferred, walk-ins are welcome.

Give Blood