Local man to donate 200th pint of blood

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 3, 2004

Jim Parr will probably never meet the people whose lives he may have saved. But over the past few decades, Parr may have helped dozens of people injured in car accidents. He might have kept alive someone who had emergency surgery. Just maybe, Parr eased the suffering of a cancer patient.

And all of it took him less than an hour at a time.

Since 1966, Parr has donated a pint of blood almost every few months. On Dec. 7, he’ll donate his 200th pint of blood at the Suffolk School Board Administration building, which will hold a drive between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Email newsletter signup

That’s 25 gallons of A-negative blood – as much as roughly 35 people have in their bodies.

&uot;I started in 1966, when I was a freshman at Elon College,&uot; said Parr, a director at his family’s funeral home. &uot;The age was 21, and had just dropped to 18, and I had to call and ask permission.&uot;

Since then, he’s tried to donate every few months – the law requires a person to wait 56 days between donations. During his time in the Viet Nam war, Parr sometimes had to donate while lying on a table or sandbags.

&uot;They would call out that circumstances required immediate blood,&uot; he said. &uot;When your comrades needed it, you didn’t think, ‘Well, maybe I shouldn’t do this.’ You went in and rolled up your sleeve.&uot;

Parr’s interest in donation first came about after his uncle, who had been in the D-Day invasion of Normandy during World War II, told him about donating blood.

&uot;I asked him how much he had given, and he couldn’t remember,&uot; Parr said. &uot;I decided to equal it and exceed it if I could. I made a commitment to do it for a long time, because the Red Cross needs it. I’ll keep doing it until they say I can’t do it anymore.&uot; He’s a longtime volunteer of the organization.

Suffolk chapter executive director Faye Byrum hopes that more people follow Parr’s lead.

&uot;We have the holidays upon us and traditionally a lot of people do elective surgery when they have time off,&uot; she said of areason to give blood. &uot;On the flip side, people are busy on the road a lot, and there are more accidents.

&uot;People are busy doing their shopping, and they don’t go to donate. The supply is down, but the usage is up. Ultimately, it’s a gift of life.&uot;

On Monday, 27 people gave the gift at a blood drive at the Suffolk YMCA.