San Diego man celebrates 50 years of donations to San Diego Blood Bank

Posted at 3:59 PM, Jun 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-05 18:59:31-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Jim Walker is about to hit a milestone that few people will ever be able to accomplish: 50 years of saving lives.

Walker started donating to the San Diego Blood Bank in 1968 when his wife was pregnant with their first child. The nurses called it the “stork club” because it was customary for expectant dads to donate for their babies.

Walker’s wife didn’t need the blood, but it didn’t go to waste. The act of giving inspired Walker to donate more often. He began donating when friends required blood and eventually became a regular donor at the blood bank.

Eventually Walked switched from donating whole blood every eight weeks to aphaeresis. The process of donating platelets allows donors to give every two weeks.

“It’s a pleasure being able to do it. It’s so simple,” Walker said.

Walker spends about an hour hooked up to a machine that removes the platelets from his blood and returns the blood to his system. He uses the time to watch Netflix on the screens the blood bank provides.

The giving doesn’t stop in the donation chair. Walker spends four hours a week as a volunteer in the Gateway Center Blood Bank’s recovery canteen, providing snacks for donors. He says it’s a natural transition from his lifelong career in sales.

Walker finds the volunteering just as rewarding as the blood bank finds his presence.

“It’s almost a family,” he says.