SUNBURY — Dave Orndorf still recalls donating blood for the first time as a college student in 1960. Sixty years later, he is now a member of the Century Club, having made his 100th donation at the Condit Presbyterian Church in Sunbury on Aug. 14.
“Very rare,” said Polly Horn, the organizer of the Condit Blood Drives, of the milestone. “Many give a gallon but few give the big numbers. In a year, a person can only give six pints, so it would take 16.5 years to donate 100 pints if you never missed a drive. I do not know the number who have done it. He is the first one I’ve met who has.”
A 30-year resident of Porter Township, Orndorf teetered on the precipice of 100 donations for upwards of 20 years as health issues that required blood thinners prevented him from continuing donations. Once his health improved and the blood thinners were no longer needed, Orndorf’s thoughts shifted back to donating once more. However, with his age rising, Orndorf said he needed a more accessible option to do so than driving to Columbus.
“I had been thinking about getting back into the donating game for some time,” Orndorf said. “Polly Horn spearheads this drive at her church, and I became acquainted with her. When she asked if I was interested in giving blood, I said, ‘Well, actually, I am. I was a hardcore donor for many years.’”
Horn notified Orndorf of the Condit blood drives held just down the road from him, and Orndorf didn’t hesitate in signing up for the next opportunity, which pushed his career number to triple digits. At the donation, he was presented with a T-shirt commemorating the milestone, which he said he will wear proudly.
While reaching 100 donations, on its own, is commendable, Orndorf’s donations have been even more impactful given his relatively rare blood type. The A negative blood type is carried in only one of every 16 people, according to the American Red Cross, and those with the blood type can only receive A negative or O negative transfusions. Orndorf said his blood type is especially important for infants in need of transfusions, which meant he didn’t even need to be reminded of his next donation appointments because he would be reminded often of the importance of his continued giving following each donation.
“It’s meaningful,” Orndorf said of his donations. “It’s nice to know that you’re helping someone in need. It’s community spirit as well, and I’ve always thought you should be doing something to give back.”
Even after accomplishing the tremendous feat, Orndorf isn’t planning on stopping any time soon. In fact, he has already scheduled his 101st donation in October, and given the close proximity of the Condit blood drives, he intends to be a regular.
“I don’t see any reason not to continue to do so,” Orndorf said of donating. “After all, it’s for the community.”
Orndorf’s contributions to the community extend past blood drives as well. His property, which contains an orchard, lake, and prairie, has been sold to Preservation Parks of Delaware County. Orndorf continues to live on the land via a life estate, and upon his passing, Preservation Parks will turn the property into “Orchard Oaks Preserve” for all in the community to enjoy.
“It’s a really nifty place,” he said. “That will be my other giveback when the black Cadillac comes up the driveway for me.”
It’s fair to say giving is in Orndorf’s blood.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.