Richard Packman (WBBM Newsradio/Terry Keshner)

Ex-Marine, 74, Marks 500th Blood Donation

October 12, 2018 - 5:37 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Many people have never given blood, but one Chicago man has now done it 500 times.

Seventy-four-year-old Richard Packman went to a donation clinic put on by Vitalant (formerly Lifesource) at the Thompson Center Friday morning, for his milestone moment.

The former Marine first donated blood in the early 1990s to help the sick daughter of a friend at church. Then he switched to donating platelets and has just kept on giving, roughly twice a month, ever since.

"It's pretty easy to do," Packman said Friday while reclining on a gurney. “Everyone should do this."

A Vitalant employee estimates Packman has helped save several hundred people over the years.

The native New Yorker has lived in Chicago for about 50 years. He was in the service during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Packman says donating blood makes him feel better and, as many donors and health professionals can attest, it's actually good for the body, as well as those who receive.

"When you donate platelets what you're really doing is freeing up ten pints of blood to be given to people who need blood,” he said.

He has no plans to stop donating and encourages others to follow suit.

"It's better to give than to receive."