JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Blood Alliance is hoping to have 1,000 donors register before a blood drive Tuesday at EverBank Field, one of whom will win club seats to a Jacksonville Jaguars game—but one donor said he's never needed an incentive to give.
Decades after Dean Willis started donating blood, he's planning on giving his 100th gallon on Tuesday.
"I guess it's a cliché, but you know, it makes me feel good," Willis said.
In 1975, Willis' father-in-law needed bypass surgery, so he donated for him and said he didn't think much about it at the time. Now he has made nearly 800 blood donations, saving more than 2,000 lives.
Willis started by giving platelets on a regular basis and planned to stop at his 10th gallon. However, a call to help a child that needed his O positive blood encouraged him to make a lifetime commitment.
"Here I am, 90 more gallons later and still going, and as long as I stay healthy and not taking any kind of medication that can prevent it, I'll keep going," Willis said.
Humble about his achievement, Willis admits he doesn't really care for needles, but continues to think about donations to come.
"You don't get an opportunity on a regular basis to know that you are truly saving someone's life," he said. "If you're just a regular citizen, no super hero, or anything else but you know you can save a life and that's what makes the next donation the most important one."
Donors at the Blood Alliance drive Tuesday will have a chance to win tickets to a Jags game and a Honda Civic. But Willis said he just hopes, whether it's this drive or another, everyone will donate blood at least once in their lives.
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