Centerville donor Robert “Bob” Diercks is a retired pharmacist who in his 43 years behind the counter got to know his customers by name and was never shy about reminding them to take their medications. His dedication to giving blood has become the kind of prescription he could fill by himself to help others, and on Monday, Nov. 16 he arrived at his milestone 100th lifetime blood donation.
“We were at Normandy United Methodist Church when I started,” Bob said about the journey to his milestone. “They were promoting blood drives, at the church or at Community Blood Center. I came down here (the Dayton CBC Donor Center), been doing it for many years, and just kept going.”
Bob has been a healthy and consistent whole blood donor with a schedule interrupted only once in his memory by a one-year travel deferment. “I get into a habit of doing something and I continue doing it,” he said. “I try to work out five days a week, and if I don’t, it bothers me. That’s the way blood donating is to me. I’ve got to go.”
Bob became even more motivated when he learned he is a “baby donor,” someone CMV- negative, or negative to the Cytomegalovirus. It can cause a severe and possible deadly infection in patients with weakened immune systems, including low-birth weight babies. CMV-negative blood is preferred for newborns.
“That was another thing that kept me going,” he said.
Bob started his pharmacy career with Revco and retired from Walgreens just over a year ago. He and his wife Arlene have been married for 45 years and have three children and three grandchildren. Two of the children and their spouses are in the health care field. They have a daughter with cerebral palsy who lives at home. Arlene spoke with pride about how her daughter uses a motorized wheelchair and voice communication system. She has an active social life that includes travel with other patients.
Arlene knew Bob’s 100th donation was coming up. “I told him, ‘Why don’t I come with you this time?’” She straightened the collar as Bob tried on his “Donor for Life – 100 LTD” jacket and wrote Bob a prescription for the rest of his milestone day. “He used to chop wood after donating, and he really wasn’t supposed to,” she said. “I think today we’ll have a special lunch.”