EUGENE, Ore. — For those who want to donate blood, but are squeamish about the needle, dedicated and decadeslong donor Dan Ertel has one piece of simple advice.
“Look that way,” he said with a laugh, looking away from his right arm.
He shared this wisdom on a recent morning, as he sat down for his 500th platelet donation at Lane Bloodworks in Eugene. Unlike regular blood donations, which take less than an hour, platelet donation can take 90 minutes to two hours. By now, he knows the drill and brought along a Tom Clancy novel and a National Geographic magazine.
Ertel’s not eager for attention, but he does want the community to know how critical blood donations can be. About a third of the population is eligible to donate blood, but only about 10 percent of that group does it.
“Many people think that others will donate. Well, look to yourself,” he said as the apheresis machine, which separated platelets from the rest of his blood, whirled in the background. “If you can donate, do … There’s always a shortage in Lane County, don’t wait until there’s a catastrophic event to go do it.”