Dennis Cravens wanted to give blood Wednesday to celebrate his 92nd birthday this week, but a low iron count led to his being deferred. There was still a cake and a party, though, for the Kentucky Blood Center's oldest active donor.
It's not uncommon for anyone to be deferred on occasion, especially those who donate as often as Cravens does, which is every two weeks, said Denise Fields, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Blood Center. Because he donates platelets instead of whole blood, he can give more often than the normal 56-day waiting period between donations.
Cravens said he'll be back soon to try again and will continue to donate for as long as he can.
"It's a pleasure while you're doing it, and it makes you feel good about helping people," Cravens said. "There's someone alive tomorrow because you gave blood today."
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Since he started giving blood in 1951, he's donated 153 units of blood in his lifetime, he said. One unit is equal to one pint, which can help up to three people, Fields said.