BEND, OR -- A Culver rancher and renowned rodeo announcer is being inducted into the Blood Donation Hall of Fame, in a special ceremony Tuesday at the Bend Red Cross Donation Center. Keith "Kedo" Olson says he wanted to give back after his wife passed away of cancer in January 2017, so he started with a church blood drive, "I was talking with one of the technicians and he got to talking about the different types of blood; and he was talking about how platelets are very important but it takes a long time to do it."
Giving platelets can take two to three hours at a time, but Olson says since he’s self-employed and no longer caring for his wife, his time is more flexible; he’s happy to step up where others can’t. "I try to do it at least once a month. And, knowing how much people’s generosity supplied blood to my wife over the years, and I figured it’s just a way that I can pay back a little bit. With my wife’s dilemma and her passing, it just brought it to a focal point to me." Platelets are a key clotting component of blood often used by cancer patients to prevent life-threatening bleeding.
Olson downplays the recognition, telling KBND News when he was inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame he actually had to perform certain tasks. Giving platelets, he says, is easy. He sits back and visits with the technicians while they do all the work. "They love me because they say my veins are like a hose and I’m a blood type that is widely used. And, they’ve even done test – my blood can be help with prenatal situations. I give three units per time, which most people give two." But, Olson hopes his story will help prompt others to give blood and serve others.
Olson is one of 13 people from across the country to be inducted into the Fenwal Donation Hall of Fame, this year. He'll be recognized with a personalized Fenwal Donation Hall of Fame statue and he'll be presented with a lapel pin during Tuesday's ceremony in Bend. His story will also be featured in the Fenwal, Inc 2019 calendar.
He'll be back at the Red Cross Donation Center in Bend with his next contribution on Thursday, on what would've been his wife's 75th birthday.