Eliran Assa

75–year–old Gerry Hamm has been donating blood and platelets since he was in his 20’s

FARGO, N.D.– A Fargo man has a history of giving.

He’s been donating blood for the last 50 years.

75–year–old Gerry Hamm has been donating blood and platelets since he was in his 20’s.

“When I see stories about people that are where they are because they’ve gotten blood donations, it just reinforces to me that’s the thing that I should be doing,” said Hamm.

Over the years, Gerry has donated 401 times and over 50 gallons of blood.

But what keeps him coming back, is knowing that he is helping those in need.

“Any time I give, whether it’s platelets or plasma, I feel good when I leave,” added Hamm.

Blood transfusions are used in trauma events and a variety of surgeries.

Both of which can happen unexpectedly.

“We never know when that could be us or our loved one,” said donor recruitment representative for Vitalant, Katie Bartelson. “Up to 90% of people will either know of someone or be on the receiving end of a blood transfusion at some point in our life. And the unfortunate thing is that we can’t plan for that to happen, so when that happens we hope that blood is available.”

Blood donations take about three days to be processed and tested before they can be given to a patient.

“If something happens to us or our loved ones today, that blood is only available because of someone who donated last week or the week prior,” added Bartelson.

People can donate whole blood every 56 days, plasma 2 times a week, and platelets once every week.

Gerry says everyone who can donate, should.

“I think most people have an hour to spare to give what’s needed,” said Hamm.

It takes about an hour to go through the process of donating blood.

To become a donor all you need to do is bring a valid ID, answer a couple questions about your medical history, and if you’re cleared, you’re ready to donate.

Donation centers are looking for all types of blood, especially O negative which someone with any blood type can receive.

Eliran Assa