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Halfway to goal: Mt. Lebanon man donates 100th pint of blood

| Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, 11:23 p.m.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Warren Sufrin of Mt. Lebanon donates his 100th pint of blood at Beth El Congregation Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013. Sufrin, 52, donated his first pint at age 17.

Warren Sufrin is a real blood brother.

Sufrin, 52, of Mt. Lebanon donated his 100th pint of blood — as much as all the blood in nine or 10 adults — on Sunday for the Central Blood Bank as part of a challenge to his congregation, Beth El Congregation of the South Hills, to give blood. Fifty-nine people registered to donate.

“It's so easy to do. It takes so little time, and it does so much for the community,” he said.

The blood bank gave Sufrin, information technology director at Jewish Family and Children's Services in Squirrel Hill, a bouquet of colorful balloons and a plaque to mark the occasion. About 100 people have donated at least 100 units of blood products to the blood bank since the 1970s, spokeswoman Caitlyn Doyle said. The group covers 10 counties in Western Pennsylvania and Weirton and Wheeling in West Virginia.

“It's just remarkable because of the time it takes to get to that level,” she said, noting that donors must wait at least 56 days between donations. “That's how long it takes to replenish the red blood cells.”

Sufrin lay on a cot and squeezed a rubber ball in his left hand to better circulate the blood as it flowed into the blood bag. The process took seven minutes, 21 seconds. Afterward, he sipped orange juice, passing up the cookies and other snacks, to replenish the fluids that were lost.

“It's easy to forget you have to take it easy,” he said. “Your body will remind you if you forget.”

Sufrin gave his first pint with a friend on a lark at 17. In recent years, he said, he has donated six pints of A-positive blood a year. A-positive is the type carried by 34 percent of people in the United States.

The blood bank holds four to 10 drives a day to attract the 500 donors a day that the 40 hospitals and health care facilities in the region need. It distributes 350,000 units of blood products a year.

Sufrin said he has never needed the blood he donates for himself or his family, but he once directed a pint to a friend who was having back surgery. He and his wife, Adele, have two sets of twin daughters, Ilana and Rena, 22, and Leah and Dana, 19.

He said his family members sometimes give blood, too.

His goal is to give his 200th pint.

“I'll be 70 when I do it, God willing,” he said.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or bzlatos@tribweb.com.

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