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Memphis man donates blood for 501st time

Shaun Brennan is credited for saving 1,500 lives from his 501 blood and platelet donations

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis man is credited for saving up to 1,500 lives just by the simple act of donating blood.

Shaun Brennan is celebrated for reaching a milestone few have—donating blood more than 500 times. 501 times now to be exact.

“I just made it a part of my lifestyle and on September 17, I sat in a donor chair for the 500th time,” Brennan said.

Donating and advocating for blood donations has become a life mission for Brennan. His first donation was in the ’90s at the recommendation of a co-worker.

“I was a little apprehensive, a little nervous, and I’m not a big fan of needles either just like everyone else and so I made the donation and I said this isn’t too bad so I scheduled another donation eight weeks later,” Brennan said.

To reach a milestone of 501 donations isn’t an easy feat considering the time between donations is required. People must wait for a minimum of 56 days between blood donations. Platelets can be donated 24 times a year.

While blood donations dropped during the pandemic, Brennan didn’t relent and kept donating.

“I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror if I had stopped,” he said. “I already the crisis was bad and it was getting worse with the pandemic.”

The American Red Cross said supplies haven’t been this low in over a decade. Since the summer, donations have dropped 30%.

The increased need is strengthening Brennan’s drive to inspire others to donate.

“When I think about people in the hospital and getting critical need and if they get these life-saving blood platelets and plasma blood products, they have a fighting chance to continue living,” Brennan said. “If they don’t, they’re in a little bit of trouble. So, I guess, that was the impetus behind me continuing to donate. It’s all about saving lives.”

Brennan demonstrates how donating blood is healthy and hasn’t impacted his life. He said he hasn’t taken a sick day since 1985. He also has run for more than 3,150 days in a row for the cause.

Brennan will go in for his 502nd donation in the upcoming days.

His 500th donation was also made extra special for him.

A former National Guard member, his 500th donation went to veterans at Harry S Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital in Columbia, MO.

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