Man donates blood, time to save lives

Thursday, October 16th 2008, 9:25 am
By: News 9

By Doug Warner, NEWS 9

OKARCHE, Okla. - Gary Nicholson has donated more than 47 gallons of blood to help save Oklahomans' lives.

Nicholson has donated blood three or four times a month for 28 years. He also donates platelets every Saturday.

His generosity is the reason he was nominated as an Oklahoma Hero by his brother-in-law, Raymond Steiferman.

Steiferman's mother, Jewel, lost her battle against her blood pressure problems in 2005, but not without a fight and help from Nicholson.

"I love her more than anything in this world; I still do and always will," Steigerman said.

Nicholson donated blood  in his future mother-in-law's name to help defer costs.

"He wasn't even a brother-in-law then. He and my sister were just seeing each other," Steiferman said. "I'm bound and determined, he's a hero. He's my hero."

Nicholson said he doesn't think of himself as a hero.

"I don't deserve it," he said. "There's a lot of people that deserve it more than I do. I've got the time and the good veins, so I just donate."

Dr. Jean Forsberg with the Oklahoma Blood Institute says donating blood is an easy way to save a lfie.

"Every person that walks through these doors is a hero," Forsberg said. "Oklahoma in particular has higher donation rates than other places. Only five percent of healthy Americans that can donate healthy blood donate, but here in Oklahoma we are at 12 to 13 percent."

At the end of the nine week series, viewers will vote on for the 2008 NEWS 9 Oklahoma Hero.  Later in December, NEWS 9 will broadcast the 5 and 6pm newscasts live from the winner's hometown.