An Abilene man who has saved more than 2,000 lives by donating 100 gallons of blood to the Meek Blood Center celebrated his 65th birthday Friday by donating blood platelets.
Tom McCulloch has been donating platelets 26 times a year since 1977. According to Frances Baker, a donor recruiter at the blood center, McCulloch has never missed a donation appointment.
“It's the right thing to do and I think everybody has something that they--you know a charity or a purpose—and, you know, this is mine,” McCulloch said.
When he arrived at the blood center to donate Friday, he knew he would also be celebrating his birthday; however, the celebration of his 100 gallon donation came as a surprise. Mayor Norm Archibald also issued a proclamation in his honor.
“That blows my mind,” McCulloch said. “That was something that I did not expect and that's a great honor.”
Baker said donations like Tom’s enable cancer patients to get chemotherapy.
“As a cancer survivor myself, I know what it's like to be told you can't get your chemotherapy because all you want to do when you find out you have cancer is to get through your treatment and not have setbacks,” Baker said. “So what Tom does--you know by making sure there's platelets available--he helps patients get through chemotherapy and hopefully on to living their lives again.”
Tom first decided to donate when he was employed in the maintenance department at Hendrick Medical Center and realized the blood center was experiencing a blood shortage.
McCulloch said even though he has reached the 100 gallon milestone, he will continue to give blood.
“I’ll give until for health reasons or other reasons that I can't give,” McCulloch said.
Baker said it takes eight donations to donate a gallon of blood. She said there are only 23 other donors in Texas who have reached the 100 gallon milestone.