Veteran Donates 500th Pint Of Blood To The American Red Cross - KMSP-TV

Veteran Donates 500th Pint Of Blood To The American Red Cross

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PHILADELPHIA -

82-year-old war veteran and Paoli Hospital patient, Paul Olson, donated his 500th pint of blood to the American Red Cross on June 12. He has been working towards the goal since 1932.

Paul Olson says he was embarrassed by all the attention lavished on him.

But, it's not every day the people at the Red Cross Blood Donation Center see someone make their 500th visit.

"I can say that in the 30+ years that I've been involved, this is probably one of the greatest donation milestones I think I've ever seen," said American Red Cross CEO Robert Kessler.

Olson began donating blood platelets more than 60 years ago, and more recently it became a regular routine: every other Sunday right after church, Paul and his wife Andrea drive from Devon into Philadelphia for the 2 hour process of donating platelets.

"I'm able to do this. And I want to continue to do this for as long as God lets me do it," said Olson.

Paul lost a couple of friends to cancer when he was a kid. And platelets are vital for cancer treatments, plus help in dealing with rare blood disorders.

He says he doesn't mind the process.

"It's easy for me to do it. It's just a little needle stick. It's nothing," he said.

And he rarely misses an appointment, even during the brutal snowstorms of last winter.

"I grew up in Minnesota. There is no bad weather," said Olson.

Among those on hand to congratulate Olson was Dr. Matthew Goldstein from the Lankenau Heart Institute.

He repaired Olson's heart awhile back when the electricity in his heart began to short-circuit.

The condition made it impossible for Olson to donate platelets.

"And really, his only goal was to be able to continue to help other people, so he asked me to help him so that he could do that," said Dr. Goldstein.

The Red Cross says platelet donations like those of whole blood fall off during the summer months, and can even be slow in the winter months.

And so, regular donors like Olson help keep their supplies up.

"I encourage all my friends that it's a very worthwhile things to do. And there’s a lot of people in need of platelets and whole blood,” he said.

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