Stanford Medicine Newsletter Updates For the Local Community

Dedicated blood donor makes a giving record

Fall 2007

Play eases the anxiety of Bernard Dannenberg's young patient.

Dick Tagg has been donating blood for 35 years.

Woodside resident Dick Tagg walked into the Stanford Blood Center for his 500th donation in late August and faced a phalanx of media who were there to witness the landmark event.

But Tagg, whose donation set a Stanford Blood Center record, took it in stride.

“It’s not like I ran a four-minute mile or something,” he said. “All I had to do was go down there, and they took care of it. It’s easy.”

A retired geologist, Tagg said he began donating blood products some 35 years ago after reading a notice in the newspaper about the need for white blood cells for children with leukemia.

“It seemed like the right thing to do. The fact that we had kids the same age made a difference—that we had healthy kids and there were others who didn’t,” said Tagg, who later met some of the ailing youngsters who had benefited from his donations.

Since then, he has been coming regularly to the blood center, mostly to donate platelets, which are needed to help control bleeding in patients with cancer and other ailments.

Years ago, Tagg said, the donation process took as long as four hours, because the technology was relatively unsophisticated. But today, he can donate two units of platelets in an hour and a half, just enough time to catch a short film from the center’s DVD collection.
Tagg also has worked as a volunteer recruiter for the center, for he recognizes the pressing demand for blood.

“It’s serious stuff. People who need blood are really injured or sick,” he said. “We have to keep the blood program going so if we have a big need, the supplies will be there. If we don’t give blood, how can we expect the blood to be there if we—or someone in our family—need blood?”

Blood center officials say they’re very grateful for Tagg’s dedication, particularly in these times of short supplies.

“It’s amazing to think about how many patients’ lives have been saved by his donations, and we hope it will inspire others to give blood,” said Michele Hyndman, spokeswoman for the blood center.

For more information, visit the blood center’s Web site at  The blood center has donor locations at 780 Welch Road and at 3373 Hillview Ave. in Palo Alto, and at 515 South Dr. in Mountain View. To make an appointment, call 888-723-7831.

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