84-year-old celebrates 500th platelet donation

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by Maggie O'Mara / KTVB

KTVB

Posted on April 2, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 5:29 AM

BOISE -- If you've ever needed motivation to give blood, you can find it in George James -- an 84-year-old who has been donating blood every two weeks since the 1960's.

"He's amazing," said Heather Jax of the American Red Cross. "He's an amazing donor and he makes you smile every time he walks in."

As the top donor in the state, James recently visited the Red Cross Boise location for his 500th platelet donation.

"I give platelets," said James. "They're needed for Leukemia, chemotherapy, heart bypass, other surgeries."

The process, known as apheresis, takes a little bit of blood at a time, spins it through an apparatus, separating the red blood cells from the platelets, then returns the red blood cells to the donor.

James started out just giving blood regularly back in 1960. In 1984, he switched over to apheresis to help save lives.

"I really enjoy coming down here and talking to my friends," said James.

"500 is such an amazing achievement because it takes a lifetime to get that many," said Jax.

4 years ago, George celebrated his 80th birthday at the Red Cross, donating platelets for the 400th time.

For his 500th donation, the Red Cross surprised their star donor with cupcakes and a special plaque.

"I just want to do what's right and have fun," said James. He tells us he has no plans to stop platelet donation, and keep on going as long as he can.

For more information on donating platelets click here.

To see Maggie O'Mara's story click on the play button above. On mobile, go to the video tab.


 

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