Blood donor inspires others with 600th donation

MARQUETTE — Marquette resident Mark Johnson has spent the last three decades saving lives. For thirty years now, Johnson has been a dedicated blood donor. As he nears his 600th donation, he is calling on others to join him in helping to save lives right here in the Upper Peninsula.

On Friday, August 24, Johnson will be donating for the 600thtime at the U.P. Regional Blood Center. In recognition of the 30 years he’s been donating blood, he is encouraging 30 other volunteer donors to come in and donate sometime between 7am-noon. New and current donors are encouraged to participate.

As a thank you for his years of dedication to saving lives and to celebrate this milestone, the staff at the U.P. Regional Blood will be presenting Johnson with a cake.

Because volunteer blood donors are the only source for blood used in patient care in the U.S., it’s important for people to donate. The U.P. Regional Blood Center is always looking for potential donors. Each year, the Blood Center’s goal is to collect 12,000 units of blood.

Anyone who’s at least 17 years old, in good health and weighs more than 110 pounds can donate. Regular donations usually take a half hour, while platelet donations can take up to 90 minutes. A technician checks the donor’s blood pressure, pulse, temperature and hemoglobin level to ensure safety to the donor and blood recipient. After the brief medical screening, the donor lays back and relaxes while a machine does the work.

In blood donation, an entire pint of blood is removed from the body. In platelet donation, platelets are separated from the blood, and the blood is returned to your body. Blood can be donated every eight weeks; platelets every two weeks.

For more information on blood donation, please call the U.P. Regional Blood Center in Marquette at (906) 225-4610.