Carlisle donor Michael Natale pays due homage to his Italian heritage. After all, his name means “Christmas” in the old country. He’s very modest about the milestone of 100 lifetime blood donations he reached Oct. 20 at the Dayton Community Blood Center. But if you want to get Michael really talking, ask him about his Great Pyrenees.
The breed is known as livestock guardian dogs, used for hundreds of years by Basque shepherds in France and Spain. Their coat is thick and white and the males can weigh up to 130 pounds. Michael and his wife Brenda are long-time owners who rescue abandoned Great Pyrenees, foster them until adoption or raise them.
They had three of the colossal canines roaming their home and yard until their favorite “Bandit” passed away from cancer. Bandit’s illness and Michael’s own shoulder surgery diverted him from his usual platelet and plasma donations during the summer months. But he reached his milestone with his ninth apheresis donation of 2017.
Michael actually has more than 100 in his donation history. He quit college to serve in the Army for three years and said, “I used to donate on base when I was stationed in Italy.”
Michael’s dad served in the Army Airborne and his mother is from Japan. They met and were married when his father was stationed there after World War II and that’s where Michael was born.
Michael went back to Wright State University to study physics after three years in the military and then did graduate research in solar energy at the Mound Laboratories nuclear weapon research facility in Miamisburg.
“I actually started donating (with CBC) when I was at the Mound for 10 years. I’ve given on and off since then,” he said. He switched his interest to computers and has been working in IT at LexisNexis for 19 years.
He was a regular whole blood donor at the LexisNexis blood drives until becoming an apheresis donor in 2014 and donating the Dayton Donor Center. CBC nominated LexisNexis for the 2012 America’s Blood Center Awards of Excellence and it was named “Most Productive Blood Drive” for its support to CBC in blood drives and volunteer hours.
The company continues to allow donors like Michael to use “LexisNexis Cares” days to take time from work to donate.
Michael and Brenda have been married 39 years and have a son Jeremy. Michael had birthday party plans for the next day after his milestone to celebrate their granddaughter Molly’s first birthday.
Michael considers Molly’s celebration far bigger than his 100th donation achievement, but the milestone did give him a new goal. “I’m hoping to be around long enough to do another 100!” he said.