Glenn Williams with his wife

Langley senior proud to reach blood donor milestone

A 63-year-old local man started donating blood as a teen.

by Alex Skerdzhev

The Murrayville Community Hall is a non-descript ecru and green coloured building with a red roof. Inside it, Glenn Williams prepares to donate blood for the 100th time.

Filling out a long form, he is told he has to read the donor brochure, even though he already knows everything in it, before being asked to follow the helpful and friendly assistant to some medical computer equipment behind one of the blue portable cubicles on the right side of the room.

“They’re going to screen me to make sure I haven’t had sex with any bad stuff,” he jokes, before disappearing inside a cubicle.

Blood screens are done on every donor, regardless of the regularity of donations. Learn more at www.blood.ca.

The 63-year-old is an energetic, friendly man with a goatee and shaved head. He proudly wears a white-and-red button displaying a maple leaf with “100” written inside of it.

Moving over to lie on one of the six black, reclined chairs peppering the hall, and surrounded by blood pressure monitors and crimson-filled IV tubes, he relaxes while showing no signs of discomfort at the ongoing drainage.

“I started [giving blood] when I was 18, back in Burnaby North High School,” he said. “It was all voluntary, but it’s a good thing. My one pint of blood can save up to 10 people.”

Williams’ wife, Debbie, 63, can no longer give blood herself due to medication and a previous, and successful, battle with cancer back in the late ’90s. She is very supportive of her husband’s blood-giving.

“I think it’s terrific. If I could, I would be right there with him. I think it’s marvelous,” she said.

Williams is a universal donor with type-O blood, meaning his is compatible with every other type, but he can only accept other type-O blood.

Williams’ two young grandkids, Jaden and Jaxen, ages 10 and six, respectively, stand by his bed, observing the process.

“I give blood every two months. Whole blood,” he said.

This is the most common type of blood donation, taking every component as opposed to just plasma, platelets or red cells.

The only thing that threw Williams off his donation schedule was a trip to Mexico. Prospective donors who travel abroad, either to certain specific countries or just for long periods, or both, must wait to donate. New piercings or tattoos mean a year’s wait as well.

He said he plans on giving blood until he turns 100 years old, when he plans to get a tattoo, though he’s not sure what kind.

PHOTO:Glenn Williams with his wife, Debbie, and grandkids Jaden (right) and Jaxen. (Alex Skerdzhev/Langley Advance)

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