AP NEWS

Fargo man donates blood more than 400 times over 50 years

June 1, 2019

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A 75-year-old Fargo man who started donating blood and platelets in his 20s has contributed more than 400 times.

Gerry Hamm’s donations account for more than 50 gallons of blood, KVRR-TV reported.

Hamm said he keeps returning to donate blood to help those in need.

“When I see stories about people that are where they are because they’ve gotten blood donations, it just reinforces to me that’s the thing that I should be doing,” he said.

Blood transfusions are used to help patients experiencing trauma and other life-threatening situations. The American Red Cross said there’s a critical shortage of type O blood, and the organization has been urging eligible donors to help replenish the supply.

“Up to 90% of people will either know of someone or be on the receiving end of a blood transfusion at some point in our life,” said Katie Bartelson, a donor recruitment representative for blood service provider Vitalant. “And the unfortunate thing is that we can’t plan for that to happen, so when that happens we hope that blood is available.”

Bartelson said blood donations undergo about three days of processing and testing before they can be given to a patient.

“If something happens to us or our loved ones today, that blood is only available because of someone who donated last week or the week prior,” she said.

Individuals can donate whole blood every 56 days, plasma twice a week and platelets once a week.

Hamm recommended everyone who can to donate, saying it only takes an hour.

“I think most people have an hour to spare to give what’s needed,” Hamm said.

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Information from: KVRR-TV, http://kftv.com

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