Donor gives his 200th pint with a smile

Richard Henderson smiles as he gives his 200th pint of blood to the American Red Cross on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2012, in Charlotte.

Richard Henderson may have had a needle in his arm on Thursday afternoon, but he was the one keeping the Red Cross blood donor staff in stitches.

The long-time donor was at the donor center in Charlotte to give his 200th pint of life-saving blood.

“I’ve been giving blood for 60 years? That can’t be right, because I’m only 30,” he joked.

When asked why he donates, he got a sly smile on his face and replied,

“Because someone from the Red Cross calls and tells me to.”

Richard has the blood type O-positive, and type O blood accounts for nearly half of all blood ordered daily by hospitals. In addition to that, Richard’s blood carries unique antigens that make him a suitable donor for premature babies and newborns.

“My mom was a nurse, so Dad would hear all the stories about people in need of blood,” said Richard’s daughter, Carmen.

That’s why when Richard gets the call to give, he always answers.

He recalls donating blood for the first time in the 1940s when he was serving with the U.S. Navy in the Philippines. In fact, Carmen says, Richard was donating blood before the Red Cross even kept track of how many units an individual had given.

“So really, this is probably only the 200th pint that’s been recorded. I’m sure he’s given much more,” she said.

No matter the exact number, one thing is certain: Richard has given life-saving blood to hundreds of people, and that’s enough to make anyone smile.

To make an appointment to donate blood, call 1800 RED CROSS.

Richard Henderson sports his new American Red Cross hat and views a certificate he received for donating 200 pints to the American Red Cross.

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