It all started with a blood drive at his church.
Richard Packman, 74, first donated blood in the early 1990s, and after being told by a phlebotomist he had "big veins," the Chicago resident made the switch to platelets. "It takes longer than a blood donation, but it's well worth it," he told the Chicago Tribune. "I really enjoy being a platelets donor because you really know you're saving lives." It takes about two hours to donate platelets, which are commonly used for cancer patients who lose platelets during chemotherapy treatment, but Packman said the time passes quickly, as he watches a movie or chats with staff.
Packman has spent an estimated 1,000 hours giving blood or platelets, and on Friday, made his 500th donation. A small celebration was held, with streamers and carrot cake, and Packman plans on continuing to donate beyond this milestone. "Just remember one thing: It's better to give than to receive," he said. Catherine Garcia