Platelet Donor Hits 100-Gallon Donation Milestone

January 10, 2012

The American Red Cross will recognize and celebrate St. Paul resident Dolly Ruark for reaching her 100-gallon blood donation milestone on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 2:30 p.m. at the St. Paul Area Blood Donation Center, 176 Robert Street. 

Ruark started donating whole blood in the late 1960s while in college. In 1984, when the Red Cross started collecting apheresis platelet donations, Ruark began donating platelets and continued to do so ever since.

Platelets are a key clotting component of blood and are obtained from a donor by a process known as apheresis. In this process, blood is drawn from the donor into an apheresis instrument which separates the blood into its components, retains some of the platelets, and returns the remainder of the blood to the donor. Platelets have a shelf-life of only five days, making it vital for eligible donors to donate regularly.

In 1992, Ruark’s brother Lew was diagnosed with Kaposi’s sarcoma and died in 1995 of complications from AIDS. Although Lew lived in California, Ruark felt that by donating blood in St. Paul she could have a closer connection with him– it was her way of honoring her brother from far away. Ruark felt compelled to increase her efforts to help others and make a dedication to donating platelets every two weeks, or as often as possible.

“Donating blood is my way of paying rent for living on earth,” says Ruark. “I am proud to have helped save hundreds of lives. I am a faithful blood donor and always encourage others to donate too! It’s an easy thing to do and the impact it has on others is so great.”

“Every other Saturday at 7:00 a.m. Dolly has a standing platelet donation.  We feel like she is part of the Red Cross family,” said Tim Bailey, apheresis supervisor for the American Red Cross. “She always brightens our day.”

How to Donate Blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.  Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. 

Apheresis Platelet Donations (by appointment only)
Bloomington Area Blood Donation Center
505 W. 98th Street, Bloomington, Minn. 55420

Minneapolis Area Blood Donation Center
1201 West River Parkway, Minneapolis, Minn. 55454

North Suburban Blood Donation Center
1160 West Country Road E, Arden Hills, Minn. 55112

St. Paul Area Blood Donation Center
176 Robert Street South, St. Paul, Minn. 55107

About the American Red Cross
Governed by volunteers and supported by giving individuals and communities, the American Red Cross is the single largest supplier of blood products to hospitals throughout the United States. While local hospital needs are always met first, the Red Cross also helps ensure no patient goes without blood no matter where or when they need it. In addition to providing nearly half of the nation’s blood supply, the Red Cross provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts.