Georgia man donates platelets 250 times

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This is big.

"It's a huge deal," says Atlanta Blood Services Donor Recruiter Nancy Herring.  "He is celebrating his 250th platelet donation."

Bagley didn't set out to become a regular here, but that is what he is.

"We always have his candy there for him," Herring says.  "We know he is going to watch a movie, and we have his headphones."

He first came to the blood donor center, which supplies busy Northside Hospital, 17 years ago.
"It back in May of 2002," Bagley says.

He'd donated blood back home in Michigan. Now, after relocating to Georgia, Bagley learned a man in his church was battling cancer and needed platelets. So, he and another man came to Atlanta Blood Services and rolled up their sleeves, donating platelets through a filtering process known as apheresis.

"I thought it was just like donating blood," Bagley says.  "But it's a little bit different, a little bit longer.
Each visit is about two and a half hours.

"Platelet donors can donate every eight days, or up to 24 times a year," Herring says. "Platelets are primarily used for cancer patients, transplant patients. Platelets are the part of your blood that stops you from bleeding. So, a low platelet count can be life-threatening."

Unlike red blood cells, which can be collected and stored for up to 42 days, platelets need to be used within five days. So, Herring says, the need is constant.

"I got into a routine, every two weeks, I was donating platelets," Bagley says.
At first, he says, no one was counting.  

But that changed.

"I got to 50," he says. "When I got my 100, I got a bowl full of rootbeer candy."

But, along the way, another frequent donor began nipping at Bagley's heels on the platelet donor leaderboard.

"They really got competitive once Mr. Bagley hit his 100th," Herring says.  "Because he was the first to hit 100 with us.100 became 200, 250," Bagley says.

The other guy actually got to 250 first. He got a plaque with his name mounted on one of the machines.

"I don't know how to beat me to 250, but he did," Bagley smiles.

And, until today, aside from his friend who beat cancer years ago, Bagley had never met anyone who needed his platelets. Then, Johnny Summers came by, during his milestone donation.
He had heard about Bagley in Northsides Blood Cancer Center.

"Unbelievable," Summers says. "I can't imagine someone being able to contribute that much."

Summers underwent a bone marrow transplant for non-Hodgkin lymphoma in January of 2019, and a stem cell transplant before that.  Both he and his brother, who was his donor, have needed blood transfusions.

That is why he wanted to say thank you to Bagley.

"They are a matter of life and death, that's the main reason," Summers says.

Bagley got the chance to talk with Summers and another patient he might have helped along the way.
"It's a nice feeling," he says.  "I'm glad I am able to do that; it kind of motivates me to do more."

Bagley will soon have his own plaque on one of the machines here. And 300? That's next, he says.

"I wish more people would donate," Bagley says.  "I don't know what they don't."

To learn more about becoming a blood or platelet donor, go to