Michael Brautigam

Man in stripped shirt holding a bag of platelets

“Any healthy person can be an ‘everyday hero,’ just by rolling up one’s sleeve.”

 

Michael Brautigam is a familiar face to many at Hoxworth Blood Center: A regular platelet donor at Hoxworth Central, he’s been donating “for as long as he can remember” and gives on a monthly (and sometimes bi-weekly) basis.

But for Michael, making the time to give is more than just a monthly appointment.  It’s a commitment.

Like many regular donors, Michael started out donating whole blood as a young adult, rolling up a sleeve at high school and college blood drives. But from the beginning, he had a keen sense of the impact of blood donation. Michael’s father was a regular blood donor, as well as a firefighter who regularly went into harm’s way for others.

“My father was an NYFD Lieutenant—New York’s Bravest,” Michael recalls. “I grew up in an environment where firemen could and did get severely injured, and I believe my Dad gave somewhat regularly to do what he could so that blood would be available for injured firemen and others.”

That knowledge gave Michael the inspiration and motivation to make donating a priority—but now, he views donating as an important obligation. A 40-gallon donor, he eventually moved from whole blood to apheresis donations. “Like many people, I was a bit weirded out by the ‘return,’ by getting fluids back to replace the volume of what was taken out—but Hoxworth and other places where I have donated are all about the comfort and safety of the donors,” he says.

Michael now donates platelets at least once a month, sometimes more. And while platelet donations take longer than whole blood—about two hours—according to Michael, the time commitment isn’t an issue.        

“I’m healthy and that means to me that I have to continue to do this for as long as I can.  I have to make the time, since this is a priority for me,” Michael says.  “I donate because I’m able to, and people need the products that I am able to produce. Yes, donating plasma and platelets can take a significant time commitment, but I feel as though I have no choice, because this is something I have to do.”

“I’m CMV negative, and I know that my blood products are able to help little kids,” he adds. “A few times I’ve been called to donate white blood cells for specific kids, which really brings the reality of what I’m doing and how it is needed home.”

Michael’s commitment is obvious—as of February of 2018, he has given blood or platelets with Hoxworth Blood Center 249 times, and that doesn’t even count the donations he made earlier in his donation career. He hopes to reach 100 gallons one day. By any definition, Michael is a lifesaver. But for him, it’s just the right thing to do—and something that every eligible person SHOULD do.

“There are everyday heroes who take real risks to save lives; the firemen who run into burning buildings, the men and women of the military who put themselves into harm’s way to protect and defend us, and all too often, to pull their comrades in arms out of harm’s way, at great risk to themselves.  I’m not one of them,” he claims. “Any healthy person can be an ‘everyday hero,’ just by rolling up one’s sleeve.  If you’ve been thinking about it but couldn’t find the time or the will, it’s time to harden up and roll up your sleeve.  No risk, just a small time commitment.”

“The blood products I give go to real people with real problems, and sometimes they save lives.  Although it’s muscle memory by now, this knowledge keeps me going, and hopefully will inspire new donors to do their part,” he finishes.  “If you’re healthy, I think it’s an obligation.  It’s the right thing to do!”

Can you join Michael and make a commitment to donating? Call us at 513-451-0910 for more information and to schedule your next lifesaving donation.