At age 31, Chadwick Cooper recently became the youngest person to reach the 100-donation mark in Lane Blood Center history.
“It feels pretty good,” he said, as the apheresis machine whirred beside him during his milestone donation on May 15, 2014.
It should feel good. Donating blood is a Cooper family affair.
Chadwick’s mother, Roberta, has donated whole blood or platelets 210 times. His father, David, has donated 57 times. Add in Chadwick’s sister and brother-in-law, and the family has made more than 370 life-saving donations.
So, what’s their story?
Chadwick first came to Lane Blood Center in 1991 at age 9 to bank his own blood before surgery. He repeated the process at age 13 for a second procedure. On the day he turned 18 — the legal age for minors to donate at the time — he started what would be come a familiar routine: donating blood every time he was eligible.
His mother, Roberta, started donating blood back in 1972, when her mother underwent open heart surgery in Boston. The clinic asked family members to replace the 17 units used in the procedure. Throughout her life, Roberta has organized blood drives or spearheaded church groups focused on blood donation. It’s just something she’s always done.
“Actually, I really don’t like needles,” she said moments after donating for the 210th time.
Dad, David, made his first donation while in the Army. The habit stuck.
Longtime friend Mark Houston called Chadwick “one of the most decent guys I’ve ever met.”
“Chad’s the kind of guy that everyone needs for a friend,” he said. “He would be among the top five people I would call if I were in trouble.”
“I just enjoy helping people,” Chadwick said. He had hoped to make the 100 mark by the time he turned 30, but problems with his iron levels caused delays. The boy scout leader and former church deacon worked hard to reach this goal, and saved many lives while doing so.