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Russ Kamradt Achieves His 100-Gallon Blood Donation

Sara Martinez
December 11, 2023

Most people can’t imagine donating 100 gallons of blood. It is a donor milestone that takes a lifetime commitment and few are able to achieve.

For OneBlood donor and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Russ Kamradt, that special milestone came during Veteran’s Day weekend on November 10th, the birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps. Not only that, but it was the Jaguars 6th Annual TEALgate Blood Drive and, to celebrate his remarkable achievement, the Jaguars honored Russ with a signed mini helmet.

OneBlood donor, Russ, reaches his 100 gallon donor milestone

We caught up with Russ and his wife, Kathy, during his milestone 100-gallon donation.

How does it feel to reach this remarkable milestone?

It feels great! I thank God for getting me this far because for a while there—I had to fight cancer and I had a kidney taken out—so I had some delays, but I came back. And look where I’m at today!

What makes today such a special day for your donation?

Today [November 10th] is the U.S. Marine Corps birthday. They turn 248 years today.

I started donating blood when I was 17 in boot camp with the Marines. In fact, I was scared of needles. The drill instructor said, “Everybody that wants to donate, take one step forward.” I was the only one that stood there—frozen. Then he yelled, right up to my ear, “I said, anybody that wants to volunteer, one step forward!” I leaped forward—and I’ve been giving ever since!

In addition to being a regular blood donor, Russ has also volunteered for a long list of causes and organizations throughout his life. In fact, he has done so much for the community that several years ago he was even recognized by a very famous someone, well-known for their “favorite things”—Oprah!

Russ was invited to attend one of “Oprah's Favorite Things” television episodes. He was one of three people she called onto the stage during the show to honor for their remarkable community service and volunteer achievements. “She said I was one of her favorite volunteers,” says Russ. “She gave me a red Beetle. I love it! I drive it all the time.”

As a platelet donor, Russ continues to serve his community, but on a whole other level. His platelet donation every couple of weeks goes directly to a patient in a hospital within a few days. Many of those who receive his donations are cancer patients that depend on it to survive.

Have you thought about how your blood donation is impacting someone’s life or even saving someone’s life?

I didn’t think too much about it until one day, when I was giving platelets, a young boy came up to me. He handed me something. His mother said, “That’s a cookie, he made it himself. I apologize it’s burnt. He had leukemia and platelet donors helped get him into remission.”

I ate that cookie and I just smiled at him. He looked at me and I said, “That’s the best cookie I’ve ever had.” And he hugged me… That experience made me want to do it every two weeks. That’s why I kept doing it.

OneBlood donor, Russ, and his wife Kathy celebrating his 100-gallon donor milestone

Russ and his wife Kathy will be celebrating 60 years together next year. When we asked her to describe her husband she said, “He is amazing. He has the most giving heart of anyone I’ve ever known. And he volunteers wherever there’s a need. I couldn’t even list all the things. I gave up trying to keep up with him, but it’s my pleasure to be able to fully support him in everything he does.”

Congratulations on reaching 100 gallons, Russ! That leap forward in boot camp many years ago has surely helped save so many lives throughout all these years. Thank you for continuing to roll up your sleeve and share your power.

Get one step forward to your next blood donation milestone. Find a blood drive or donor center near you today.

Sara Martinez, OneBlood Digital Marketing Specialist

Sara Martinez

Sara Martinez is a Digital Marketing Specialist at OneBlood. From creating strategic online campaigns to writing engaging stories, she is passionate about raising awareness to inspire others and helping make a difference in our community. #ShareYourPower

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