Saving lives, one pint at a time | TheUnion.com

Saving lives, one pint at a time

Thousands of people would probably love to thank Paul Dean if they only could — but they don't know who he is. This month, the longtime platelet donor was honored for donating blood for the 880th time at BloodSource in Grass Valley. To mark his impressive accomplishment, Dean signed the blood bank's commemorative 55-gallon drum — for the second time.

"This was a special occasion — Paul's 880th blood donation equals 110 gallons," said Alexander Sigua of BloodSource's United Blood Services, based in Mather, Calif. "We wanted to celebrate this amazing milestone and the thousands of lives he's saved throughout the years."

Dean, who moved to Grass Valley in 1984, first started donating blood more than 40 years ago when he worked as a joiner in a Vallejo shipyard.

"When I joined the Lions Club they taught me the importance of making sure there is always an adequate blood supply," said Dean, who now belongs to the Grass Valley Host Lions Club and recently earned his 40-year pin. "One good thing to remember is that there is no upper age limit for donating blood. I'll be 80 in March."

This year's cold and flu season has been worse than usual, said Sigua, which is impacting blood donations across the country, including Northern California. Since the start of 2018, a rise in donation appointment cancellations has severely impacted the blood supply. This compounds an annual problem, as winter is traditionally a challenging season to collect blood donations due to holidays, vacations and a rise in illnesses. That's why it's more important than ever for healthy individuals to get out and donate, he said.

"It's the blood already on hospital shelves that saves lives, especially during emergencies like the recent tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas, or hurricanes in Houston, Puerto Rico and Florida," added Sigua. "That blood supply is only available through the generosity of donors who gave blood in the days and weeks prior to those emergencies."

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Those with Blood Type O are especially needed, he continued, as O blood "saves the lives of all patients, regardless of their blood type," and hospitals need it readily available for emergencies.

BloodSource, a community-based, nonprofit blood center, provides blood and services throughout Northern and Central California and beyond — wherever and whenever the need.

"I think it's very important to donate if you can," said Dean. "You never know when we or our loved ones will need it."

To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.

To learn more about donating blood, contact BloodSource Grass Valley at 866-822-5663 or visiting http://BloodSource.org.

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