Gregory Byron donated blood for the 157th time on Christmas Eve, 2020. He has donated enough blood for over 470 life-saving transfusions over the last 50 years. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Gregory Byron donated blood for the 157th time on Christmas Eve, 2020. He has donated enough blood for over 470 life-saving transfusions over the last 50 years. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

South Okanagan man donates 14 bodies worth of blood in 50 years

Gregory Byron has been donating blood since he was 17-years old

More than 14 bodies worth of blood in 51 years.

That’s how much Gregory Byron has donated after he finished his 157th donation on Dec. 24.

“The reason I keep coming, it’s a very noble cause to give blood, and it’s very empowering to think you could save three lives with one pint of blood,” said Byron.

He started donating blood at 17, in 1969 the same week that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, and he isn’t planning on stopping any time soon.

READ MORE: Christmas Eve will mark an Okanagan man’s 157th blood donation

“I feel no different, I know you have to replenish your blood, but the next day I feel fine,” said Byron. “I just keep going, I’m healthy so why not.”

The average blood donation is about 450ml, and there are about 5 litres of blood on average inside the human body.

More importantly, with each donation capable of saving two to three lives, he has provided enough blood for 471 life-saving transfusions, so far.

Byron gives blood at every opportunity, noting that it used to be limited to four times a year, although that restriction has now changed to allow men to donate once every 56 days, which usually equals six times in a year.

“I actually gave blood seven times in one year,” said Byron. “If you give right at the beginning of the year, you can get in for seven times.”

The speed and ease of drawing blood is another change that Byron noted, with the whole experience having taken much longer before. He recalled how some of his previous times had taken over 20 minutes for the donation, with the entire appointment taking up to two hours.

“It’s so easy now,” said Byron. “It took six-and-a-half minutes to give blood, and I just phoned my wife and she said ‘You’re done already?’

He also wants to take the opportunity to ask for other people to step up and donate blood.

“It’s so empowering, to know you can really make a difference. It’s not a major sacrifice, it’s a generous sacrifice. Why not?”

READ MORE: Gift connects Okanagan seniors with families

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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