Dale Leavy is hitting a milestone. He's donated more than 101 gallons of blood.
"You basically do five gallons per year, and so 20 years, 100 gallons," Leavy said.
Collins literally saved the lives through a special process in which only platelets are collected during blood donation. This allows him to donate a higher volume of platelets than with a whole blood donation, helping more cancer patients in the process. Platelet transfusions are vital to keeping many cancer patients alive during various treatments.
But this time of year can be difficult for blood banks because of flu season.
Because the flu is a respiratory condition, blood is not affected. That means people who get your blood in a transfusion aren't at a risk of catching the virus. But people who have been sick typically don't feel like donating.
"The risk is more of to the safety of the donor," said Dr. Richard Gammon, director of Florida's Blood Centers in Orlando. "We don’t want someone donating that isn’t feeling well and then might have an increased reaction after the donation process."
- Get flu facts, treatment ideas, and find the nearest place offering flu shots
- Find the nearest place to donate blood
With this being such an intense flu season, the center has seen a decrease when it comes to donations, especially for the most needed type of blood.
Only two boxes left of O negative.
Since blood only has a shelf life of 42 days, fewer donors because of the flu means less blood that can be sent to hospital. One unit can save up to three lives.
"If we don’t feel it’s comfortable for an individual to donate, we’ll ask them to come back another day when they’ve built up their strength and are feeling better," Gammon said.
Leavy says he plans to keep donating and hit his next milestone -- provided he feels up to it.
"I try to eat right, reasonably well, and take care of myself -- seems to be working," Leavy said.