BRANDON – On Dec. 18, 48-year-old John Baker of Brandon donated another pint of blood at the OneBlood Brandon Donor Center, bringing his lifetime total to 100 gallons. It was his 24th whole-blood donation for the year, the maximum number allowed.
“John is the 18th donor in Tampa Bay to achieve the 100-gallon milestone,” said Dan Eberts, OneBlood community and donor relations representative. “Some of these donors moved to Tampa Bay having also given up north, but John is homegrown.”
Baker first donated in 1991, when his father, the late William Baker, dragged him to the blood donor center.
“My father gave blood as often as he could,” said Baker. “I had never donated before, thinking it would hinder me in some way. I was very active in running in high school, and I thought it would limit my ability. It doesn’t.”
After giving a couple gallons of whole blood, Baker started donating platelets via apheresis, which can be done every two weeks. That process takes the blood, runs it through centrifugation that isolates platelets and plasma from red blood cells and returns the remainder to the donor.
Donations every two weeks add up quickly.
“I knew I was going to reach 100 gallons at a fairly young age,” said Baker, “so I worked at donating a little more consistently. I plan to continue to donate. I’m glad to help.”
“John’s donations have saved hundreds of lives – and not only lives, but families,” said Eberts.
Baker has donated blood at centers in Brandon, Tampa and Plant City and at a blood drive at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, where he has worked as a security officer for 12 years.
There is always a need for blood. Anyone who wishes to donate must weigh at least 110 pounds, be healthy and 16 years old or older and bring a photo ID to the collection center.
For blood center locations and hours, visit www.oneblood.org.
Send news of community interest to Barbara Routen at Neighbors@tampabay.rr.com.