Red Cross platelet donor hits 86-gallon milestone

October 5, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. ― Ron Woldengen, dedicated American Red Cross apheresis donor, was recently honored for reaching his 86-gallon milestone. His donations alone may have helped over 1,000 hospital patients.

Woldengen started donating blood in the 1970s and donates platelets on a regular basis. “I am blessed to be healthy and able to donate regularly,” said Woldengen. Platelet donors are eligible to donate 24 times each year, and Woldengen donates as often as he can. “I keep coming back because I realize that there are patients in need, and my donation is critical in changing the lives of others.”

Platelets are a key clotting component of blood and are obtained from a donor by a process known as apheresis which takes approximately 90 minutes. During this process, blood is drawn from the donor into a machine that 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.

Blood and platelets can be used for trauma victims ­– due to accidents and burns – heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, premature babies, when there are complications during childbirth, and for patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or other diseases.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have dedicated platelet donors like Ron who are so generous with their time, and who want to encourage new donors to learn about blood and platelet donation,” said Kathy Gross, Red Cross apheresis supervisor. “One way to ensure blood is readily available for hospital patients is for donors to not only give blood, but encourage family and friends to donate blood, too. Ron is a great example of someone who truly wants to make a difference.”

“Donating blood is my way of giving back,” says Woldengen. “I am proud to have helped save hundreds of lives. If I could encourage just one other person to become a blood donor it would be the best reward ever.”

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. 

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at