The '6AM-ers' Give Life Through Blood and Platelet Donations
A group, known as the ‘6AM-ers,’ rise early in the morning and travel from as far away as Monrovia, Pasadena and Sylmar twice a month to donate blood and platelets at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ Blood Donor Center. Their special gift of life has been helping kids who are receiving chemotherapy, undergoing heart surgery, fighting sickle cell disease or recovering from trauma for many years—some since the 1980s!
Each person in the group has their own reason for giving. For Robert Glaus, it was to honor his late son who passed away from leukemia at age 5. Since 1985, he has donated more than 84 gallons of blood platelets, making him CHLA’s No. 1 platelets donor.
Robert being prepped for a donation.
Steve Mirkin has a similar reason and began giving when his daughter had her first surgery in 1992. “The great thing is that I can donate blood platelets today and they can be used to treat a sick child right here at CHLA in as little as 48 hours,” Steve says.
Steve with his daughter, Jennifer.
Larry Darr was inspired to give blood to help a friend’s daughter who was receiving chemotherapy many years ago. And on his way to CHLA, he picks up his friend Christine Chen.
From left to right: Christine, Larry and Steve
Kathleen Dechellis began donating blood platelets when a student at the school she taught at needed it during a cancer treatment. She and husband Michael are regular donors.
Kathleen during her two-hour donation.
Others like Carl Studde joke it’s because they’re OCD—obsessive-compulsive donor. But whatever the reason, it all comes down to the kids.
A single donation of one unit of blood can save as many as three kids at CHLA. A donation of three units of platelets can treat three teens, six adolescents or nine infants.
Together, the ‘6AM-ers’ have collectively helped an estimated 1,275 sick children thanks to sitting for more than 1,000 donations.