Father Donates Blood in Son’s Memory
Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at 3:49PM
Laurie Brady - Webmaster

“The biggest thing [about donating blood] is that it helps people like my son,” said Tim Cass, who paused for a moment before continuing, “He died in February.”

It’s a sore spot for the 66-year-old retiree from Midland, who spoke about his son just before hunting season began: November 15th. The ‘Michigan holiday’, as it’s often called, was one Tim and his son, Kyle, would spend together every year. Kyle passed away February 6th after a two-year battle with cancer, leaving behind a wife and two kids, as well as a father forced to hunt without his son.

This year, Tim donned boots and an old rifle strap that belonged to Kyle. On the boots was a small keychain-sized picture of his son, smiling up through the small frame of glass.

“He was only 35,” he said, “And the name of the game now is payback.”

That payback involves helping others the way the Cass family was helped as they dealt with Kyle’s declining health. Even when Kyle  was bedridden for weeks at a time, neighbors and friends would come by with food for the family.

“It feels to me that people should help each other,” said Tim, “And I’m paying back for all the help we got.”

For Tim, part of helping others involves donating blood – he recently hit his 12th gallon donated.

“To me, it’s no big thing,” he shrugged.

Tim began donating blood back in 1977, after he saw all the male figures in his life donate – his dad, his grandfather, and his uncle. Tim said he started donating to pick up where his dad left off, but became more serious about it when he learned he could do even more.

“A guy explained the process of donating platelets, and told me it mostly helps cancer victims,” he said, “At that time, Kyle was already terminal.”

Donating platelets – a component of blood – takes a little longer than a typical blood donation. But because platelets can only last for five days outside of the body, there’s always a shortage of them. However, donors can give platelets every two weeks, and Tim is a loyal donor.

“It makes you feel good,” he said, smiling, “We’re put on this Earth for some reason. I might not be able to help after a natural disaster, but I can give blood.”

Article originally appeared on Michigan Blood (http://www.miblood.org/).
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