Blood donors are part of an elite group of heroes. Over 60% of the population is eligible to donate blood but just about 4% of Rhode Island’s population does so. If everyone who is eligible donates at least once a year, we could end future blood shortages!

David Karoff is one of Rhode Island Blood Center’s (RIBC) loyal donors and recently became a member of an exclusive group, joining the 100-gallon club. You read that correctly. David has donated over 100 gallons of blood through the years, saving countless lives thanks to his dedication.

Donor David Karoff donating his 100th gallon of blood with RIBC's Beau Tompkins..
Beau Tompkins, RIBC Vice President, and100 Gallon Donor, David Karoff

“I started donating blood because it was the right thing to do and I’m healthy so why not.”

David tells RIBC he started donating whole blood but made the switch to platelets when someone mentioned the need and him being the perfect type.

“I didn’t know anything about it at the time, but they said that it was something that they needed and you could also do it more often. So, it was fine with me.”

Platelet donors can donate up to 24 times a year while whole blood donors can only donate up to 6 times a year.

Donating platelets is a time commitment as it usually takes around 2 hours but this product is often referred to as liquid gold as it is invaluable to the patients who need it, most often cancer patients undergoing treatment.

Despite the time commitment, David looks the process with a positive spin as it allows him to get some much needed me time while helping the community.

“…it was fine with me. And also, to be truthful, at the time I was working a lot and the two hours I spent was like the most relaxing time of my week.”

David hopes that by sharing his story, he will inspire others to donate, especially younger generations.

RIBC has seen a 32% decrease in youth donors since pre-pandemic but they play a vital role in preventing future blood emergencies. 

He tells RIBC while he does not know anyone personally who needed blood but he knows the need is constant and there is no substitute for this lifesaving product.

“Someday that time may come and it would be nice to know that there’s a supply out there.”

David’s family is following his example as his two children now donate after seeing him lead by example for so many years.

He also credits the RIBC staff with helping him achieve that 100-gallon mark.

“…the people are certainly very nice here and it’s nice to have goals so I thought sure 100 gallons I can do that”

When we asked David about what he would say to encourage people to donate, he mentioned that many people are scared of needles, but to remember that “the benefit versus the expense is no question.”

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