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Lehigh man honored by Lee Health for platelet donation
May 19, 2017

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Lehigh Acres resident Dan Latorella was recently awarded the 2017 John Woolslair Sheppard Award for his dedication to platelet donation. Since 1999, Latorella has been a faithful donor, spending an hour-and-a-half every three weeks donating platelets.

"This award caught me totally by surprise," he said. "I feel good doing it because I know it is helping patients fighting cancer. I started donating by chance in 1999 when my wife was getting blood work done. Karen Lopez (the Lee Health Blood Center nurse) asked me if I'd be willing to donate platelets. I said 'sure' and I've been donating ever since. I'm up to 200 donations."

Latorella said he does not see a time when he will not make the trip to Cape Coral Hospital to donate.

The John Woolslair Sheppard Award is given to any person who supports the mission of the blood program - whether they are a blood or platelet donor or an advocate for the program.

Sheppard is a local, long-time community leader, philanthropist and friend of Lee Health who has been donating blood since 1951. He also is the Guinness Book of World Records holder for the most whole blood donated. He did not pursue the record for notoriety, rather in the hopes to inspire others to donate blood. Sheppard still donates blood every 56 days.

According to Susie Nystrom, director of Lee Health Blood Center Services, there is no other substance that can heal and save lives the way blood and blood products can. From one donation - one pint of blood - they can separate the platelets, the red blood cells and the plasma to help save three people suffering from various diseases and trauma.

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