Alpine man donates 150th gallon of blood

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ALPINE, Calif. - With the pleasure of giving blood, comes a little bit of pain for East County resident Stephen McMeeken.

"This is where I look away," the 66-year-old said. "I've never seen them put a needle in. I've done it so many times that there's scar tissue that has built up."

The Alpine man has been donating his platelets, which are blood cells that help control bleeding, 24 times a year for 40 years.

McMeeken spends an hour and a half during each sitting at the San Diego Blood Bank's East County donor center on Arnele Avenue.

The jovial patient is always asked if the constant poking hurts.

"You get a tingling feeling, but they give you some calcium tablets and that reduces that feeling," he said. "Once in a while you get light headed in a matter of second you can walk it off."

With no end goal in sight, McMeeken remembers a late nephew who could not generate platelets on his own.

"Although I couldn't give him  my blood, I continue to donate in his honor," he said. "He lived for 30 years, before dying four years ago."

McMeeken said the days of having a needle in each arm are history and that modern technology makes blood donation a breeze. Now, that he's hit an impressive donation mark, how much long does he want to do it?

"I'll just keep donating until the day before I die..laughter."

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