One of the ways that Long Island Blood Services recognizes regular donors is with the two posters listing everyone who has made more than 75 lifetime platelet donations. Those with 75-99 or 100-149 -- and there are hundreds of them -- are on one poster. Those with 150 or more are on the other, which we've laughingly called the "Big Board."
Last Saturday. a few of us regulars were sitting in the canteen and discussing where we were on the posters. Deb, the appointment coordinator, started to laugh and said, "It's always the guys who know exactly where they are and how many more donations they need to move to the next group." I can't speak for all "the guys," but those of us who were present agreed. Steve, who is just shy of 150, has calculated that he will move to the Big Board when it is updated next September. Tom knew exactly where he stood. And I know I have a chance of jumping from the 150-199 group to 200-249 if I find enough Saturdays in the next ten months.
This morning another of the regulars was happy to see that he had made it to the Big Board. He mentioned that he thought there were more categories this year and I pointed out the lone man in the 350+ category. Deb has mentioned that the man is 80 years old and continues to donate regularly; clearly, he is the gold standard we are all striving for.
As I was sitting there, I did a little math. The 142 people on the Big Board have, at a minimum, made 23,000 platelet donations! That does not take into account the "doubles" and "triples" done in a single donation -- some donors are just so chock full of platelets that they can give extra.
I've mentioned it before, but it's worth repeating: There is no artificial substitute that can be used, yet only 2% of the population donates. If you donate, even just once or twice a year, great! If you never have, please consider trying. Regardless of whether the donor is a long-time regular or a first-timer, every pint of blood and unit of platelets makes a difference in someone's life.
And donating is a great excuse for eating Lorna Doones for breakfast.