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Douglas Ryden

Setting records while giving back.

You’re never too old to start. 

That’s the advice given by Douglas Ryden, an MBC blood donor since 1983. In March of 2018, Douglas became MBC’s second-ever donor to surpass the milestone of donating 100 gallons of blood. 

“I donated once in the service, and then again years later after my father passed away. He had used two units of blood, so I gave two back. I was 38 at the time, and I just kept going.”

Douglas was welcomed to his milestone appointment with balloons, his favorite flavor cake, and many staff who had gotten to know him over the years. He earned his 100-gallon pin, and walked out with a customized arm wrap made for the occasion. 

When asked what advice he would give to other donors who want to achieve high-gallon donations, he encouraged patience. “There’s always something that can come up—your platelet count is too low, there are equipment errors, or you’re just not feeling well. It doesn’t deter me, and it shouldn’t deter others.” There have been times in Douglas’ life when he took a hiatus from donating, but he has always come back. “I like giving back to others.”

“I never really thought about how much blood I could give over the years,” he said. “I just kept coming in when I could, and over the years they donations added up.”
Most donors start out giving whole blood—most often, at a blood drive in the community. Platelets can be donated at a donor center using a specialized apheresis process, and can be donated in greater quantity and more often than whole blood. That’s how platelet donors like Douglas can give so much over their lifetime. 

“I once saw some people donating platelets, and I thought I’d like to give that a try. Now, I like to do it,” he said. “You’ll never know if platelet donation is for you unless you try it. Personally, I think coming in to watch movies for a couple hours is cool.”

Find out more about how you can help save the lives of infants, children, and adults through platelet donation. Learn more at About Blood.