In a time when blood shortages seem to be the norm, a Colorado man is breaking donation records for Bonfils Blood Centers.
Bill Cell has donated 90 gallons of blood over his lifetime — and counting. The 87-year-old from Westminster started donating in California back in 1946.
In 1990, Cell started donating platelets, which only have a 5-day shelf life for patients needing cancer therapies, heart surgeries and marrow transplants.
“I donated for my wife and myself, donated for my parents and my wife's parents and I think her sister,” said Cell. "By that time, I was donating as many times as I could go a year.”
The next closest donor has given 75 gallons of blood.
But Bonfils says every drop counts.
“We like to keep a 4-day supply of blood on hand,” said Liz Lambert, a Bonfils spokesperson. “Last week, we just got into a situation where we didn't meet that demand."
So they rely on donors like Cell to step up. He says the mark of excellence is a mere habit.
“It's just one of those things as I was doing it…it happened!” said Cell.
These days, most of his wardrobe is made up of Bonfils T-shirts. His wife has trouble keeping them all clean.
“She said I don’t own a shirt that doesn't have blood on it,” said Cell. "No matter how many times she washes it, it doesn’t come out."
He's so humble. You would never know how much he's helping others in this state and across the country. Just yesterday, demand spiked because of the massacre at an Oregon community college.
“Our hearts go out to everyone in Oregon and those affected,” said Lambert. “Anyone who wants to donate is welcome to."
It just takes one person answering the call. Cell says it’s easy and then you can move on with your day.
“I’m going to go home and have a big bourbon and ginger ale,” he laughed.