Indiana man reaches milestone, donates blood more than 100 times

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COLUMBUS, Ind. (June 10, 2014)– A Columbus, Ind. man is a milestone donor, having donated blood more than 100 times!

FOX59 met Brent Clem as he went about his bi-weekly routine: stopping by The Indiana Blood Center’s location in Columbus to donate platelets, which aid in blood clotting. Clem has been giving for so long that he didn’t realize it was his 118th time.

“I’ve been here 118 times,” said Clem. “I didn’t know that. I’m not really counting. I’m not here for that.”

It all started years ago when he was just 34 years old.  A little girl at his church had been battling cancer. They held a blood drive, so Clem decided to donate platelets.

“I’m blessed, I have well enough health, an abundance of platelets, it’s just a good feeling to know that I can help someone,” said Clem.

Since then, Clem has been showing up at the Columbus Donor Center every two weeks. While a machine takes in whole blood, collects the platelets and sends back the rest, Clem will pass the time by reading a book or chatting with the ladies.

“Just to see the lovely faces, that’s true,” said Clem. “Over the years, they’ve gotten used to me and I’ve gotten to know them a little bit.”

And he always brings along his very own squeezy ball, a gift from his son.

“He knows I come here often enough to have my own and he said ‘use it’ and it is heart shaped and it means something to me because he gave it to me,” said Clem.

While The Indiana Blood Center offers incentives for donors like movie tickets, gift cards and things like that, Clem only likes to walk away with his cookies and juice.

“If I leave here with nothing, that’s not what I come here for,” said Clem. “Incentives, yes they’re great and fun, but it’s not what I’m here for.”

He’s here because he wants to help people battling cancer, people like his father-in-law who passed away a few years ago and his older brother, who lost the fight just recently.  Clem remembers being in the hospital by his brothers bedside seeing a bag full of platelets.

“When I was there, one of the nurses brought in a bag that looked like that with platelets and it made me have a feeling that those could’ve been mine,” said Clem.

A week later, his brother passed away.  However, Clem wants to continue to help people even if they eventually succumb to the disease.

“I don’t know how I will pass away, I hope it’s not with cancer, but if it is, I hope somebody can be laying in a bed like this maybe helping me a little bit,” said Clem.

Donating platelets is a bit different than donating whole blood.  The process takes a bit more time.  Whole blood has a shelf life of 42 days while platelets only have a shelf life of 5 days, so The Indiana Blood Center is constantly looking for more platelets and new donors.

We’d like to see you all come out and raise your sleeve at our FOX59 Blood Drive with The Indiana Blood Center!  It will be held this Friday, June 13 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

You can show up at their locations in downtown Indianapolis, Carmel, Columbus, Fishers, Greenwood, Lafayette and Muncie.  You are encouraged to make an appointment.