Stan Jensen: Reflecting On 600 Donations

May 3, 2022 at 11:16 am

Here at SBC, we love to celebrate our incredible milestone donors and the impact they’ve had on helping support patients in our community. Stan Jensen recently made his 600th donation at our Menlo Park center. Ross Coyle, Public Relations Officer, interviewed the Pacifica 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?

Achieving a goal that I’ve had since my 500th donation, over four years ago.

What led you to donate blood the first time?

Peer pressure! (LOL) We had a blood drive at work and a co-worker “shamed” me into doing a whole blood donation and I fainted when I looked down at the needle in my arm. Things got better after that!

Why do you donate?

It gives an average person like myself a chance to save a stranger’s life. I’m not a first responder or a doctor or nurse, so this is a great way for me to directly help someone.

What keeps you coming back all these years? 

I’m still able to do it! I don’t need to train or eat a special diet (well, a somewhat-healthy one) and, despite my age, my body is still replacing the platelets I donate quickly. If it weren’t for the FDA limits, I’d try to donate more. In addition, SBC holds a Precious Mettle event for milestone donors [donors who’ve given 100 times or more] every year where we get to hear from a recipient of blood products and that alone is motivation to continue donating.

Did you ever think you would be donating so long that you would reach 600 donations? 

Absolutely not! Until June 1985 (my first apheresis), I thought I’d be limited to five donations a year. After my last whole blood donation (August 2008) I was asked to stick to platelets, so I could provide more blood products each year, and I gladly agreed.

Why do you donate at Stanford Blood Center?

I feel safe and appreciated there, and I know that the blood products I donate are being put to the best use possible.

What has the experience been like for you?

It’s been absolutely wonderful! I’ll tell anyone who will listen that donating blood is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life and wish I would have started earlier. 

What would you say to potential first-time donors who may be on the fence about donating blood?

Give it a try! Sure, it may not be your “thing,” but you can probably put up with needles every so often knowing that someday the blood you’ve donated may help save the life of someone you love. I hope you and your loved ones never need to receive blood in a hospital, but wouldn’t it be nice to prepare for that possibility?

People 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? 

I can’t think of many opportunities for doing so much for relatively so little effort. One hour of your time can save multiple lives! I’m all in favor of volunteering in a soup kitchen, or cleaning up beach litter or any other worthwhile activity, but donating blood is one of the most unselfish acts almost anyone can do.