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Northeast Florida’s second 100 gallon donor reaches milestone at Jaguars Gift of Life Blood Drive

The Blood Alliance (TBA) is proud to congratulate Dean Willis on reaching his 100-gallon level of donating blood to save lives. Willis donated his 100th gallon on Dec. 13, at 7:30 a.m., at the “Jaguars Gift of Life Blood Drive” at the West Touchdown Club of Everbank Field.

Dean’s Story In His Words…

I started donating just like most other folks—a family member needed blood. My wife’s dad was having heart by-pass surgery back in 1975. His surgery went well and I went on about life without giving another thought to donating blood for a few years. I really don’t remember why I did return to donate the second time, but I became a regular whole blood donor. A few years later I started giving platelets and stayed on a regular schedule.

Just when I was about to quit again, I got a call asking if I would come in to donate earlier than my scheduled appointment, specifically for a child, locally, that was receiving blood products on a frequent basis who had started rejecting the transfused platelets. My particular HLA and MHC were the closest match available in our region and that they needed me to help this child. I donated for that child two or three more times in a fairly short period of time and each time someone from the hospital was waiting to take the product directly to the patient for immediate transfusion.

As I reflected on the turn of events, I determined that a power greater than I was trying to tell me, that what I was doing was bigger than my personal interests and “comfort.” It was then that I decided to continue donating on a regular basis as long as my health and other determining factors made it possible. So, here I am 100 gallons later.

Dean E. Willis, DrPh, MPH, MS, works for the Florida Department of Health and is the Director of the Bureau of Laboratories – Jacksonville.

For more information, visit or call 888.99.TBA.HERO.

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