O'boro blood drive welcomes very special visitor - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

O'boro blood drive welcomes very special visitor

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Al Whitney Al Whitney
OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) -

The Western Kentucky Regional Blood Center in Owensboro welcomes a very special visitor, who's donated in all 50 states and three countries.

Al Whitney spends a lot of his time traveling across the country, sharing his mission, and saving lives.

"It's just something that I feel I have to do," said Whitney. "There are people out there that are dying for them, and we have to get as many people to be blood donors as we can."

Nearly 50 years ago, Al Whitney made a decision that changed his life forever.

"I was in Cleveland one day and saw a sign said 'Donate Blood,'" I donated blood, then I started running blood drives," said Whitney. 

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Whitney broadened his horizons and started donating platelets, which he did Monday morning with the help of a special machine.

As of today, Whitney says he's now donated 731 platelet units.

He says he's been able to help people from cancer patients, to burn victims.

"Being a platelet donor becomes addictive," said Whitney. "If I miss a two-week cycle, I feel anxious about it."

Whitney's made it his life's mission to get people interested in donating blood and helping others.

Staff members at the blood center say he's a practical and symbolic donor.

Brian "He's not only providing an actual product for us to use, but I think he provides some degree of inspiration to donors and potential donors in the region," said Dr. Brian Ward, WKRBC medical director.

"Give somebody another birthday," said Whitney. "Let a father walk his daughter down the aisle. Let a mother see her son graduate from college. Let parents bring a baby home from the hospital," he said.

Click here to learn more about Platelets Across America and Al's work. 

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