Hospital recognizes Westsider who's donated 100 gallons of bloodJoel Beck no longer has 100 gallons of his blood.
This doesn't bother him. In fact, he's celebrating.
Until 2016, as far as the long-time Westside resident knows, nobody in Colorado had ever donated that much.
He and another local man, Elmer Baumann, are being honored by Penrose-St. Francis Health Services for reaching that amount.
“This is important because blood is life; a blood donation can and does make the difference between living and dying for people every day,” commented Andrea Sinclair of Penrose-St. Francis. “Joel and Elmer's dedication and commitment to donating to our blood bank are blessings for all of us; any one of us could need their blood one day, and it's reassuring to know that our entire community can count on them.”
Beck, a retired engineer and Vietnam War veteran, has been donating blood or blood platelets since 1983. In his earlier years, it was typically two to three times a week. Now, at age 70, he's cut back to 24 times a year, scheduled in advance.
The main reason he got into the habit was “to help other people,” said Beck, who moved to Colorado Springs from Milwaukee in 1972. The body can replenish its blood supply; in the meantime, “I'm giving to somebody who needs it.”
Plus, he said, for reasons he's not certain of, he himself feels better after a blood-letting. Half-jokingly, he pointed to the Middle Ages medical practice of “bleeding” people, ostensibly to improve their health.
On top of that, Beck observed, he gets a “mini-checkup” from medical staff - verifying his blood product is safe - every time he comes in.
Some of the most common recipients of his blood are cancer patients, accident victims and even newborns. He's also helped out family members that way when they were in need.
Beck's donations are volunteer. It could be said that such a community spirit is in his “blood.” Over the years, he's also worked with the Organization of Westside Neighbors, Care and Share and the Colorado Springs Labor Council.
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