A former San Diego resident celebrated his 70th birthday Thursday with a selfless and impressive feat: donating blood for the 1,000th time.
For more than 40 years, Ralph Vaughan has been donating blood in California and Utah. Over the past four decades, he has donated a total of 125 gallons of blood, according to the San Diego Blood Bank.
On Thursday, as he turned 70 years old, Vaughan donated blood once again, this time in Sandy, Utah, where hit the 125-gallon mark at the ARUP blood center.
Vaughan moved to Utah last year, but made the bulk of his donations at the San Diego Blood Bank (SDBB).
SDBB celebrated his 1,000th donation long distance. According to the ARUP, Vaughan’s 125 gallons of donated blood is likely one of the highest achieved lifetime blood donations in Utah and the western states.
The ARUP said the average blood volume in an adult is 11 pints, and 125 gallons is enough to fill 91 people.
According to the ARUP, Vaughan began donating platelets in Southern California in the mid-1970s when his 7-year-old daughter, Lara, was diagnosed with Stage IIIB Hodgkin’s Disease.
Although Lara did not need blood transfusions for her treatment, there were other children on her patient ward who needed blood so Vaughan began to donate.
He has donated blood regularly ever since – 24 times a year – which is the maximum allowed for platelets per donor.
He has always thought of his donations as “paying the rent” for the health of his daughter. Today, he continues to “pay rent” every two weeks with ARUP Blood Services for patients at Primary Children’s Hospital, Huntsman Cancer Hospital, University Hospital, and Shriners Hospital for Children.
“Donating a thousand units is a major accomplishment and demonstrates an unmatched lifetime commitment to saving lives,” said ARUP Blood Services Vice President and Group Manager Lucinda Manning.
SDBB CEO David Wellis said that while Vaughan is missed in San Diego County, it’s great that he has found a place to donate in Utah.
“It’s a real testament to Ralph’s dedication that finding a great donor center was a priority when he settled in his new home,” said Wellis.
After his 1,000th donation in Utah, Vaughan posed for a photo with friends holding up signs in his honor. He was given a special plaque for his accomplishments as a dedicated donor.
To learn about how you can donate blood, visit the SDBB website or visit your local blood bank.