Here at SBC, we love to celebrate our incredible milestone donors and the impact they’ve had on helping support patients in our community. Brian Smith recently made his 600th donation. Ross Coyle, Public Relations Officer, interviewed the Mountain View resident about what inspires him to donate blood and what keeps him coming back all these years.
What does your 600th blood donation mean to you?
It’s just a stepping stone to 700!
What led you to donate blood the first time?
When our middle child was born at a hospital in San Luis Obispo, family members were asked to donate a pint of whole blood. When I showed up for that donation, I found out that the blood bank was offering meat, cheese and cracker snacks after the procedure plus free Big Mac coupons for each donation. As an engineering student with two kids, the burgers were a nice free meal and motivation for future donations. By the time I graduated from Cal Poly, I had donated 30 units of whole blood.
Why do you donate?
In this season of my life I regularly interact with a young teen in our neighborhood who has Leukemia. It’s my hope that he and others facing that particular health challenge can benefit from the donated platelets. God has blessed me with a healthy body (mind? maybe yes, maybe no?!), so it’s something tangible I can do for him and others like him.
What keeps you coming back all these years?
Primarily the relationships with the staff at Stanford Blood Center. They are kind, caring and dedicated. The Precious Mettle events that include wonderful stories from recipients were also huge motivations to continue.
Did you ever think you’d be donating so long that you would reach 600 donations?
Yes, as long as my body and veins help up, I didn’t see that milestone as an issue. It’s kind of like the old adage… How do you eat an elephant? One bite (or donation) at a time!
What has the experience been like for you?
It has become a routine that is just part of my life rhythm now.
What would you say to potential first-time donors who may be on the fence about donating blood?
Life is teaching me to see the world through the eyes of others. I would say, visualize your first donation flowing into the body of someone who is injured or sick. Think about the intense feelings of gratitude for your blood products from family members of that person. It can offer them real hope!
Younger folks have a lot of options these days to give back to their community. What would you say to them about the opportunity to help save lives by becoming a blood donor?
By starting regular donations early in your lives, you have to opportunity to benefit hundreds, if not thousands, of people from your individual donations. Go for it! Set the example for your peers! Maybe even bring them along to donate!