For the Troy Daily NewsDAYTON — It must be nerve wracking to shepherd 10,000 gallons of highly combustible fuel down the highway every day, but West Milton donor Dean Riedel says it’s “just a job.” He was equally casual about his Nov. 10 visit to the Dayton Community Blood Center for his milestone 150th lifetime blood donation.
Dean surprised staff members in the apheresis section of the donor room when he arrived on Wednesday to make his platelet donation. “They said, ‘Wait a minute, is it Saturday?’” Dean laughed. He’s known as a prankster who can make the phlebotomists blush, so he might be up to mischief again.
As it turned out, Dean is on rotation to work Saturday at Hometown Comfort fuel oil, gasoline and propane transport in New Paris. It meant he had to move his usual Saturday morning appointment to keep his schedule of donating platelets and sometimes plasma every two weeks.
“I used to donate whole blood,” Dean said. “I think I started when I was in my 20’s. With the hours I worked, it was hard to donate. I started donating double red blood cells and one day they asked if would like to try platelets and I’ve been doing that ever since.”
That first platelet donation was a couple of days before Christmas in 2009. Ironically, for his milestone 150th donation Dean wore the Christmas-theme “Good Things Come to Those Who Give Life, Give Blood” donor T-shirt that’s he’s received for donating in December 2011. Over the years his blood has truly been a gift for many patients in need.
Dean is an A-positive blood type, which makes him a good fit for platelet donations.
“I was told I have ‘baby blood’ and there have been times they would be emailing the hospital when I came in because my blood was needed for a patient,” he said.
Dean is known as a “baby donor” because he is CMV-negative, or negative to the Cytomegalovirus, which can cause a severe and possible deadly infection in patients with weakened immune systems, including low-birth weight babies. CMV-negative blood is preferred for newborns.
He especially values being an apheresis donor because he can donate more often. He also makes double platelet donations when able.
“I spent 10 years as a medic making emergency runs,” he said.
It was an experience where he saw the critical need for having blood on hand to treat traumatic injuries.
Now he makes fuel runs around Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, often wishing drivers would help make the roads safer. “I see people texting all the time while they’re driving,” he said. “There’s supposed to be laws against it but it doesn’t make any difference.”
It’s all in a day’s work for a milestone donor making a difference for others as a Donor for Life.