U.S. News


Man's Family Helps Him Reach 25-Gallon Blood Donation Goal

Chuck Swartendyk wanted to donate 25 gallons of blood by his 90th birthday. When health issues prevented him from donating, his family helped.
Posted at 12:16 PM, Dec 29, 2014

When a California man could no longer give back the way he wanted to, his family stepped up to finish his lifelong goal of saving lives.

"I've always supported his dedication to that project," Chuck Swartendyk's wife, Mary, says.

"A lifelong blood donor, Chuck was fast approaching his 90th birthday and short of a new goal," the KERO reporter says.

That goal for Bakersfield's Chuck Swartendyk was to donate 25 gallons of blood. 

To put that into perspective, his goal would be the equivalent of 25 jugs of milk. But just as Chuck was nearing that last donation, he had to stop due to health concerns.

"When he came up short on his donations," the KERO reporter says.

"They bailed me out," Chuck says.

"I thought it'd really be nice if we could help him achieve the goal of 25 gallons, because Chuck likes nice round numbers," Chuck's son-in-law Mic Hall says.

"They were tired of hearing me complain," Chuck says. 

Some of his family even flew in from Seattle to donate and helped Chuck reach that 25-gallon goal.

According to the Red Cross, the average adults gives 1 pint of blood during a donation trip. There are 8 pints in 1 gallon. 

Chuck started donating during WWII when he was serving in the Navy. He told The Bakersfield Californian you received a day off if you donated. He continued giving after the war, too.

"When I started, they reused needles after the needles had been cleaned and sharpened ... There were times I gave blood in the hospital in one room and they were waiting for it in the operating room," he told the outlet.

There are others who have worked to donate massive amounts of blood. A 76-year-old Texas man has donated 29 gallons, a Louisiana man gave 50. 

As for Chuck, he also recently celebrated his 70th wedding anniversary. Something more to celebrate.