MORLEY resident Neville Lewis has donated blood a whopping 410 times and helped save an estimated 1200 lives.
The 78-year-old is one of 517 milestone blood donors from around Perth to be recognised as part of National Blood Donor Week.
Mr Lewis first donated as a nervous 17-year-old in Adelaide, dragged along by his work colleagues.
“The first time I donated, I walked in apprehensively and I was going to the donor room, a man came out and flaked out on the floor in front of me,” he said.
Mr Lewis later found out the man was a taxi driver who had worked all night and not eaten breakfast.
He said donating had changed a lot over 60 years; in Tasmania he used to be given a beer for his efforts.
“(I then moved to Perth and) in those days they used to have a flat bed to donate and in Wellington Street, in the old building there, they used to have cartoons on the ceiling so when you laid on the bed you could read the cartoons,” he said.
“Things have changed; they now have these lovely chairs and they used to give you a local anaesthetic.
“I just like to give back to the community, I’ve been fortunate with my health, had no real problems and while I can, I will continue.”
Mr Lewis’ daughter Jennifer and grandson Glen also donate blood.
“They tell me 82 is the cut-off but when I started 70 was the cut-off,” he said.
The 517 milestone donors are among 40,000 blood donors across Perth who gave a combined 116,500 blood donations in the past year.
Blood Service spokeswoman Jessica Willet said she hoped National Blood Donor Week would inspire more Perth people to become ‘bloody legends’.
“Winter is a traditionally tough time for the Blood Service because many regular donors can’t give blood due to cold and flu symptoms,” she said.
To make an appointment call 13 14 95 or visit www.donateblood.com.au.