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Release of Likeness

" My father-in-law needed blood in the 70’s and I’ve been donating ever since!"

Larry Olson“I’ll keep donating as long as I’m eligible. It’s a painless way to help others!” Loyal blood donor Larry Olson is committed to saving lives one blood donation at a time. On May 19, 2014, Larry’s donation of a pint of blood landed him in the 11 gallon donor club. This blood donation milestone has only been reached by about a dozen people at the Memorial Blood Centers donor center in Hibbing, MN.

11 gallons is 88 pints of blood, that’s 88 hours of time spent donating, up to 264 lives saved, and all by one man living in Northern Minnesota. The 67-year-old retiree from the Minnesota DNR-Forestry division is helping save lives in his own backyard as Memorial Blood Centers is the primary supplier of life-saving blood products to Essentia Health in Virginia and Duluth (St. Mary’s) and St. Luke’s Hospital.

Larry began donating blood when his father-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer in the 1970’s. “The doctors told us he would need blood during surgery.” Larry didn’t even think twice, he walked right to the blood center and gave his first pint of blood. Larry’s donations continue to help cancer patients as approximately 25 percent of blood products donated help treat cancer patients.

“At that time, I hoped my donation would help replace the blood my father in-law needed. Then, I felt if I could help someone else I would.” Larry has done just that, he’s saved up to 264 lives, as each unit is divided into three life-saving components. “It’s an hour or less, if you include the bottle of juice and cookies after your blood donation. And the staff is very friendly and nice!” Larry gives three to four times a year.

“He’s a bright spot! We have such great blood donors and Larry really represents that great people do great things, and don’t expect anything in return. He’s a true life-saver!” said Shawn Savolainen, Operational Lead for Memorial Blood Centers’ Hibbing and Virginia Donor Centers. “Larry has such a kind heart and a great personality! He’s also a jokester who likes to kid around with the staff during his donation. We can’t wait to help Larry celebrate his next milestone – reaching 12 gallons!”