The Power of Giving

Man Donates 30 Gallons of Blood

“It’s a need I can help fill.” It’s a simple sentiment, but a very powerful one, and it seems to have seen William Chesser through his entire life. It took him to Korea as a volunteer soldier in the 1950s. When he came home, he went to school and became a probation officer, serving the needs of those at the lowest point of their lives.

Since 1960, he has continued to serve by donating blood. Now 85, Chesser has donated blood regularly for nearly 60 years. On February 6th, 2018, he donated the last part of his 30th gallon.

30 gallons of blood is the equivalent of 245 pints. The body of the average adult male holds about 12 pints. Chesser has donated 20 times his own complete volume, enough to serve the transfusion needs of as many as a hundred other patients. And he doesn’t intend to stop.

“They can put a man on the moon, but they can’t perfect human blood,” he said about the endless need of the medical industry.

The Red Cross’s official estimate is that someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion every two seconds, and every drop has to come out of a donor’s veins. The average transfusion is three pints, and donors can give one pint every eight weeks. We won’t do all of the math, but at least it’s easy to see that for every patient in need of blood, three people must give. And he’s right. Patients with low blood volume can be supplemented with saline (salt water) or other blood replacements, but nothing does the job of the real thing. There is no fabricating platelets, for instance (the cells in blood that cause clotting and allow us to stop bleeding).

Every two months, Chesser drives himself to the LifeSouth Community Blood Center in Dothan, Alabama from his home a few miles north in Ariton. He also volunteers his time with a local food bank and the Dothan Kiwanis Club.

“It’s a need I can help fill.” Words to live by.