Trumbull man makes 200th blood donation

TRUMBULL — A long-time resident, community volunteer and police officer, Mark Smith recently donated his 200th pint of blood to the Red Cross. The achievement, a rare 25 lifetime gallons, took him 40 years to accomplish.

The average person has about 10 pints of blood in their body, and donors are limited to one donation every 56 days.

“Most of the time, that’s six donations a year, but every once in a while, the calendar falls right and you can get a seventh,” the 63-year-old said.

Stefanie Archangelo, chief communications officer for the Connecticut Region of the American Red Cross, said the organization relies on people like Smith.

“We owe an incredible gratitude to donors like him,” she said.

Having achieved his lifetime goal of 25 gallons, Smith said he has no plans to quit donating. While it’s not clear what the lifetime record for blood donations is, an online search indicates that 86-year-old Maurice Wood of Missouri had been credited with 323 donations, or just over 40 gallons, as of 2012. Other donors have also approached that mark, continuing to donate as long as their health allowed, frequently well into their 80s.

Currently 123 donations behind Wood, Smith could conceivably catch him in another 20 years, even accounting for Smith’s uncredited three donations. At that point, he would be three years younger than Wood was.

“I’ve thought about it, but I don’t know,” Smith said of going for an unofficial donation record. “I’ve always believed that donating blood was good for you, and my health has always been good. I’ll just keep going until the doctor tells me to stop.”