By Victor Shermer, Armed Services Blood Program-Pacific NorthwestOctober 9, 2019
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- When someone reaches 100 years of age, it is impressive. Many of us have goals and there seems to be something magical about reaching that 100 benchmark.
When donating platelets, 100 is one of those benchmarks that seems far off in the beginning, maybe even elusive. Elusive or not, it does happen.
On Sept. 2, the Armed Services Blood Bank Center-Pacific Northwest, on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, had the opportunity to recognize one of its donors, Les Christiansen, for reaching that 100 platelet donation benchmark. Christiansen was accompanied by his wife, Marianne, and his daughter, Annie Aguilar and her family.
In fact, Annie, her husband, Victor, and their four children traveled from Idaho to attend Christiansen's ceremony, where he received a celebration cake for this great benchmark.
Christiansen originally started donating whole blood with the Armed Services Blood Program in 1999, and reached 6 gallons before he made the switch to donating platelets in 2013. When he started donating whole blood, he still wore the Army uniform, eventually retiring as an enlisted Soldier.
Christiansen not only donates platelets, he also donated one of his kidneys to his brother. Nearly 100,000 people are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. Kidneys are in high demand, more so than for all other organs combined.
The ASBBC-PNW provides donated platelets to Madigan Army Medical Center at JBLM. And Christiansen is not stopping after 100 -- his focus is on his next benchmark of 150 platelet donations.
For the ASBBC-PNW, donors like Christiansen are few and more are always needed. If you are A-positive/A-negative, B-positive/B-negative, or O-positive and interested in donating platelets, call 253-968-1850 or go to the blood center weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ramp 2 at the Madigan Annex, Building 9904 on East Johnson St., on Lewis Main.
Anyone age 17 or older with access to JBLM -- and who meets donor requirements, a list of which is available at the center -- can donate blood products.
Les Christiansen is always looking for some competition.