Bonfils blood donor is a real life-saver

Posted at 7:15 AM, Jan 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-27 09:32:00-05
They have a saying at Bonfils Blood Center: "Heroes come in all types." 
And that includes this week's 7Everyday Hero Paul Berteau. 
He is quite aware donating blood can enrich and save lives, but years ago Berteau was afraid of needles. 
"He actually encouraged other people at his work place to donate blood at the office blood drive for many years," said Liz Lambert, Communications Specialist, Bonfils Blood Center. 
"And somebody called my bluff and said: 'So, Paul are you going to donate tomorrow?' And I reluctantly said 'Yes, I will.'" 
That was back in the early 90s and Berteau has never looked back. 
"It is so easy. There's a slight prick when the needle goes in the arm but that's not any worse than maybe getting a flu shot," said Berteau. 
Berteau started donating blood and then platelets. 
Platelets are like gold for patients facing critical illnesses. 
And because the have a shelf life of just five days, platelets are always needed. 
"Those platelets are used for specifically cancer patients and some open heart surgeries and that sort of thing," said Lambert. 
"I come twice a month. You can donate platelets up to 24 times a year," said Berteau. 
Twice a month for more than 25 years add up to a lot of platelets. 
"I am just below 49 gallons," said Berteau. 
"It is hard to get somebody to sit still for two hours and be hooked up to a machine and give two hours of themselves to the community with nothing in return," said Diane Cain, Collections Trainer, Bonfils Blood Center. 
"His dedication is above and beyond because a lot of people don't necessarily donate as often as they are able," said Lambert. 
"Each of us can make a difference in our own little way. And enough of us making a difference in a little way makes a big difference," said Berteau. 
January is National Blood Donor Month. 
To learn more to go to
Mitch Jelniker anchors 7NEWS Now in the mornings from 4:30 to 7 a.m. He also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on 7NEWS. Follow Mitch on Facebook and Twitter. Nominate a 7Everday Hero here: