Woodside resident Alden Tagg made his 600th blood donation, through a process known as apheresis, at the Stanford Blood Center's new donation center in Menlo Park on April 1.
Mr. Tagg donated through a two-hour process that allows the center to collect specific blood components, such as platelets. This process enables donors to give blood as often as 24 times a year, whereas whole blood donors are limited to a maximum of about six donations per year.
Mr. Tagg began donating in the community about 40 years ago, inspired by an article in a local paper about children suffering from leukemia. The realization that these children were the same age as his kids at the time motivated him to become a blood donor.
When the Stanford Blood Center opened its doors in 1978, he was one of its first donors. Since then, he has often donated every other week, and said that it simply became a habit. Only one other donor has reached the 600-donation mark at Stanford.
Mr. Tagg's donations have helped cancer and leukemia patients who often depend upon platelet transfusions to help their blood to clot properly. For example, a leukemia patient might have a dangerously low platelet count, caused by the disease itself or by its treatment, which can damage bone marrow and result in hemorrhage. Platelet transfusions can help keep these patients alive while allowing enough time for their therapy to work.
The blood center currently has a need for all blood types, but there is a particular need for Rh-negative blood. Donors should be in good health with no cold or flu symptoms. They must eat well prior to donation, drink fluids and present photo identification at the time of donation. The process takes about an hour.
Visit bloodcenter.stanford.edu or call (888) 723-7831 for more information or the schedule an appointment.
The Menlo Park blood center is at 445 Burgess Drive in Menlo Park.