When Bill Pooley arrived at the Bradenton OneBlood donor center for his biweekly blood platelet donation in March, he was greeted by balloons, a cake and a TV camera to record the hoopla. The reason? After 39 years of donating blood, Pooley joined a very exclusive club of 100-gallon donors—one of fewer than 150 100-gallon donors in Florida out of millions of donors since World War II, according to OneBlood spokesman Daniel Eberts. “I have no idea how many people I’ve helped after all these years, but I’m sure it’s many,” says Pooley, 62, who has been blind since 33 due to hereditary glaucoma.
“When I was 23, my son was born with a hole in his heart and he ended up at All Children’s Hospital for a heart catheterization. He didn’t need blood, but I saw the other children who did. A couple of months later I started donating to pay back what they did for my son.”
“The first 10 years I donated whole blood. When the technology changed, I began donating platelets. It takes a couple of hours every two weeks. I used to be afraid of needles. After all these years it’s nothing.”
“I got my two minutes of fame; I hope it inspires other people to give.”
“I’m still giving. I don’t think I’ll catch up with the gentleman who made 150 gallons, but I’ll keep going until I won’t be able to.”