ROANOKE, Va. – Phillip “Luck” Lucado grew up on a farm, loves to cook and he’s a self-proclaimed “antique nut.”
“I have antique carriages restored dating back to the Civil War,” said Lucado.
Wednesday, the 66-year-old Appomattox man marked a milestone 25 years in the making: his 1,000th blood platelet donation.
“Today is a big day,” said Lucado.
Lucado says donating blood runs in the family.
“My dad gave whole blood until he was 80 years old,” said Lucado. “I kind of started because of him. I would go with him sometimes. And I never was scared of needles.”
Lucado’s grandmother even donated blood during WWII.
“[My mother’s] mother, even back during WWII, actually went from Halifax County to Charlottesville, rode a bus to give blood during the war,” said Lucado.
Jackie Grant is the executive director of the Virginia Region of the American Red Cross. She said 1,000 platelet donations is not an easy feat.
“It’s not like a regular whole blood donation. It takes about 2.5 hours,” said Grant.
According to the Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. Grant said the need for platelets is even more critical, particularly for those battling cancer and burn victims.
Grant said fewer people are stretching out their arms nowadays because of the pandemic. People either don’t feel comfortable leaving home, don’t want to wear a mask while donating or have been traveling more often. Severe weather like the remnants of Hurricane Ida can also deter or prevent folks from donating.
“It is not a social event. It really is a lifesaving event,” said Grant. “With weather issues, people just don’t want to drive.”
That’s why she said what Lucado is doing is so amazing. He even donates while on vacation.
I‘ve done it out of town and other states,” said Lucado.
Lucado says his goal is simple: help others.
“Most of the time, it hits me once I leave here and I’m driving most times by myself,” said Lucado. “And I kind of think of what I’ve just done, you know. It makes me feel good.”
Lucado said he’s not planning to slow down.
“I’m going to give as long as my body will allow me to,” said Lucado.