Blood donor gives 20th gallon in Ocean Springs
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - A milestone blood donation happened in South Mississippi.
Raymond “Dale” Dunlap made his 160th blood donation at The Blood Center in Ocean Springs. That marks 20 gallons of blood he’s donated that have gone to someone in need.
Dunlap’s blood donation journey began more than 30 years ago when his son was diagnosed with cancer.
“My son came down with cancer. He died at the age of 14,” Dunlap said. “We got 11 years [with him] fighting cancer. One of the needs is platelets for kids having cancer, and that’s why I’m donating.”
Dunlap is a retired Marine in the U.S. Navy. In the late ‘70s, he was stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. A lawsuit against the camp claims the water supply was tainted with cancer-causing chemicals during the same time Dunlap’s son was born. Three years later, his son was diagnosed with cancer.
“They told me about [my son] needing blood platelets,” Dunlap said.
Cancer patients face a lower immune system. Donor blood platelets help build back immunity. Since then, Dunlap has donated platelets every chance he gets.
“Dale is the only person I know of in the Mississippi area that has given more than 20 gallons,” said Paul Adams, The Blood Center’s public relations manager.
He went to Ocean Springs to hand Dunlap a certificate for making the 20th gallon donation milestone. It’s a club that few can claim membership.
“The club is so, so small, but it’s so important,” Adams said. “When you donate blood, you’re able to save lives. It’s the one medication that hospitals use that can’t be manufactured.”
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