For longtime blood donor Wayne Burlog, donating blood is more than a way to give back. It’s a way to give life.
“I started in 1972,” says Wayne Burlog, longtime Dak Minn Blood Bank donor. “But when I started, I wasn’t as gungho as I am now.”
Back in the ’70s, a friend who had donated blood encouraged Wayne to give it a try. The idea of helping others in his community appealed to him, and it’s what has kept him coming back for 50 years.
Helping A Friend
The significance of having a local hospital-based blood center like Dak Minn hit home for Wayne in the mid-1980s.
“I had a very good friend who had leukemia, and he needed platelets,” Wayne says. “So, I went every few days and gave him a bunch.”
With the help of Dak Minn Blood Bank, Altru and Wayne’s platelet donations, his friend became a cancer survivor.
“We became what we both considered blood brothers, and he got 10 more very good years out of that,” Wayne says. “I’ve seen what platelets do for a person and how they helped, so I became a regular platelet donor at Dak Minn.”
Wayne has never met another patient who benefited from his donations, but knowing that he’s saving lives in his community is more than enough reward for him.
Rising to the Call
During his four decades of work as a mailer for the Grand Forks Herald, he stayed up after the night shift to donate first thing in the morning before heading to bed. Even after 22 years of retirement, Wayne’s dedication to his community is as strong as ever.
“They just call me and ask me to come, and I do,” Wayne says. “I don’t care who the platelets go to.”
Wayne recalls an instance when Dak Minn called requesting a platelet donation for a baby in the NICU. Even though it was a Saturday, he didn’t mind.
“They asked, ‘Hey, would you mind doing it?’ And I said, ‘Well, of course not,’” Wayne recalls.
“I’ve been put on this earth to do this,” Wayne says. “This is the best thing I can give. I’m not rich, but I’m rich in platelets, and that’s what counts.”