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Colorado blood donor reaches 90-gallon milestone

Ned Habich just made his 720th blood donation, saving many lives along the way.

GOLDEN, Colo. — A Lakewood man is the third Vitalant blood donor in Colorado to have reached the 90-gallon mark.

A dedicated blood donor since high school, Ned Habich celebrated the 90-gallon milestone at Vitalant’s Denver West donation center.

Habich has made 720 total blood donations donations, dating back to 1963, when he was inspired to start giving blood after seeing his mother volunteer at their community blood drives.

"My sister had cancer and needed to receive platelets several years ago, and I think about that a lot when I am donating," said Habich. "She thanks me very much for donating, and it feels really good after I donate because I know that I’ve done something right. I want to keep giving platelets until they won’t let me anymore!"

Habich, 90, donates platelets every two weeks and said his goal is to make it to 91 gallons. He is eligible to donate up to 24 times per year compared to whole blood donors who are limited to six donations each year.

Credit: Vitalant

Vitalant said platelets have a very short shelf life and must be transfused within a week, so it is important to have loyal platelet donors like Habich to continuously replenish the supply.

Platelet donations can take approximately two hours, and are a special component of blood that helps control bleeding. Platelets help patients undergoing cancer therapies, open heart surgeries, marrow transplants and many other medical treatments.

Habich is the first to reach 90 gallons at Vitalant’s Denver West donation center.  

RELATED: Here's where you can donate blood in Colorado

Donation appointments can be made online at vitalant.org or by calling 877-25-VITAL. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Anyone who meets basic eligibility requirements can donate blood as young as age 16 with parental consent. Blood donors are asked to eat a healthy, low-fat meal up to two hours before donating and should drink plenty of water up to 48 hours prior to their donation.

For a limited time, Vitalant is testing all donations for COVID-19 antibodies to produce plasma that could help COVID-19 patients with weakened immune systems.

RELATED: Warrior Way: How you can nominate a Warrior in your community

Credit: Vitalant

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