Langley’s Olympic rowing champion Andrea Proske calls her brother Max a “hometown hero” for making more than 100 blood component donations.
“My brother is the real star, donating plasma over 100 times despite being in his 20s,” a proud Andrea told the Langley Advance Times.
Donating blood is a Proske family tradition.
Growing up in Langley’s Willoughby neighbourhood, Max was inspired by his father, Henry, a cancer survivor and lifelong donor with 160 whole blood donations so far.
His sister donates blood whenever her training allows.
Last November, Max, 26, made his 100th donation.
“For me, donating is a lifestyle,” Max commented, one that started when he was 18.
”My first donation was in 2015 at the Township of Langley Fire Department,” Max recalled.
After his 12th blood donation, Max switched to donating platelets every two weeks.
Platelets help with clotting, and platelet transfusions are also essential for many patients undergoing chemotherapy as treatment for cancer.
“So far I have been matched three times with different leukemia patients,” says Max. “The nurses show up with a clipboard, and by this point I know the clipboard means I’m a match! They put a special sticker on the collection bag, and I’m like, ‘cool, that just made my day.’”
Donors can contribute as often as every two weeks because red blood cells are returned to the body during the donation process.
While red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days, and plasma can be stored frozen for a year, platelets must be used within a week of collection.
“Platelets are like a carton of milk, and need to be replaced regularly,” Max says.
With his first 100 donations, Max has given 12 units of whole blood, 177 units of platelets and 21 units of plasma.
He has continued to make regular visits to Vancouver’s Oak Street donor centre through the pandemic.
“For me it wasn’t even a question. At the same time we were all disinfecting our groceries, I was donating,” Max said.
“Safety protocols [at the centre] are top notch.”
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