GREENVILLE — When it comes to causes, some people donate their time, while others may donate money.
One local man, however, has spent more than seven decades donating something very special — a part of himself.
Ivan Patterson, 89, of Greenville, has made 461 blood donations — both whole blood and platelets — since turning 18 years old in 1945.
“I’ve volunteered all my life,” he said, noting his work for a number of entities, including the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, local boards and committees, and various Church of the Brethren groups. His work has taken him to far-flung places such as Poland, Cambodia and China.
Patterson — blood type A-positive — typically tries to donate twice a month: once in Greenville, and once at the Community Blood Center (CBC) in Dayton, Ohio. Though nearing 90 years of age, Patterson appears much younger than his age and pays close attention to his health, not to mention his blood.
“I know what my blood type is, my white count is, my plate count is, my blood pressure is, my temperature is, I know what my heartbeat is,” he said.
A plumbing contractor by trade, Patterson was born in Trotwood, Ohio, and lived there until 1998, when he and his wife, Clara, moved into Chestnut Village on the grounds of the Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville. He retired from the plumbing business in 1997.
Together, the two raised six children. They are the proud grandparents of 15 kids and great grandparents of 19 youngsters, with three more great grandchildren on the way. The Pattersons will celebrate their 66th wedding anniversary in October.
CBC Public Relations/Marketing Associate Mark Pompilio says Patterson currently ranks seventh among all active CBC donors and sixth among all male donors.
“Ivan is in a special class of blood donors. He has more than 460 lifetime donations, and that number keeps increasing,” said Pompilio. “He’s an apheresis donor, and he donates every two weeks, going back and forth from blood drives in Greenville to the Dayton Donor Center, and other blood drives where he can donate platelets and plasma. He’s helped countless accident victims, burn patients and cancer patients with those donations.”
“He’s a true pioneer of apheresis donations, a member of the original LifeLeaders apheresis team at Community Blood Center, and he’s been doing it for decades. But even more, he is among a special generation of donors.”
“They believe in helping others, contributing to the community and serving their fellow men and women as a matter of duty. They don’t seek recognition. They give without reservation, and expect nothing in return. Although as Ivan will tell you, he has a lot of CBC T-shirts!” Pompilio added.
CBC Account Representative Dana Puterbaugh also expressed her appreciation for Patterson’s donations.
“Ivan is always a pleasure to see at all of the blood drives,” she said. “He is very dedicated and continues to share the gift of life. I always look forward to seeing what blood donor T-shirt Ivan will wear to the [Darke County] fair — one year he had a blood donor T-shirt from the mid 1980s. He is a great advocate for blood donation and the importance of why one should donate.”
Patterson says he hopes to reach 500 donations by his 90th birthday, February 7, 2017.
“[Blood is] one of the few things that hasn’t been manufactured,” he said. “There’s no replacement for blood. It certainly doesn’t have any ill effects for me — I don’t feel ill, I don’t feel weak, I don’t feel dizzy. Other than when they first stick it and you feel a sting, other than that, that’s all there is to it.”
Patterson added, “It’s helping people the only way they can get help. It doesn’t cost anything except time.”
For more information on the work of the Community Blood Center, go online to givingblood.org.
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