CHICAGO (CBS) — An 86-year-old man has donated 151 pints of blood in his lifetime, but he said Tuesday he’s just getting started.
George Serena, who was honored Tuesday at Lifesource in Arlington Heights as he extended his arm for pint 151, said “it’s just like getting your oil changed.”
“Getting rid of a pint of my own blood, and replenishing it as new blood? Hey, that’s an oil change,” he said.
In an article for Senior Connection Newspaper, he noted people have called him “Mr. Blood Drop,” “Mr. Ketchup,” “Mr. Tomato,” “Mr. Dracula,” and more because of his donations and volunteer work for Lifesource. He volunteers more than 120 hours a year at blood drives.
Serena, a long-retired accountant, said he thinks donating blood has contributed to his longevity; along with a routine of riding a balloon tire bike two miles for a 40-minute swim every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
He started donating blood at age 17, has continued to donate regularly, and has organized blood drives in schools and churches near his home in Palatine.
“Why do I do it? I don’t know,” he said. “I’m a Christian. I feel I’m helping; saving lives. You know, they don’t make this, so I’ve got to get out there and close that gap.”
Serena asserted summer is when blood donations are particularly needed, because so many people are traveling. He said each pint of blood donated can help save three lives; so he’s helped save as many as 453 lives with his donations.
A couple years ago, he dressed up as a drop of blood when he was honored as the “Blood Man Of Palatine” for giving his 138th pint.
He has been married to his wife Shirley for 64 years – a marital longevity made possible partly due to Serena’s blood donations, since it took over 45 pints of blood to help his wife through an extended bout of chemotherapy treatment for cancer.