Cedars-Sinai Blog

Blood and Platelet Donor Reflects on Decades of Saving Lives

Cedars-Sinai blood transfusion patient

"Donating blood doesn't take a lot of time, and it's a great way to give back"

For almost 30 years, Haskell Vaughn Anderson III has been a regular fixture at the Cedars-Sinai Blood Donor Center. He can still remember the first time he donated blood in the late '80s.

"I was in a waiting room at Cedars-Sinai when a woman came by looking for blood donors," says Haskell. "I had the time, so I did it; when I was there I saw people donating platelets, and from then on it became my thing."

Three decades later, Haskell still makes regular trips to donate. In that time, he's donated whole blood 43 times and platelets 199 times, impacting the lives of countless patients.

Many of the treatments provided in a hospital, including organ and bone marrow transplants, cardiac surgery, and cancer treatment, would not be possible without blood and platelet donations.

"I'm honored to be able to do this for people in need," says Haskell, who's been an actor just as long as he's been a donor. His most notable credits include Brotherhood of Death (1976) and Kickboxer (1989).

Committed to living a healthy lifestyle, Haskell wakes up every day at 4:30 am. He starts his day by making coffee for his wife of 30 years, Sarita Marie Ursula. After coffee, he heads to mass and then to the Santa Monica Stairs, where he works out 5 times a week.

A few years ago, Haskell underwent brain surgery at Cedars-Sinai to remove a stage 1 meningioma. That experience further reinforced his humanitarian drive.

"I decided, as a symbol of gratitude, to give back even more," he says. In addition to being a lifesaving blood donor, Haskell volunteers at A Place Called Home, a nonprofit youth center in South LA, where he serves as a mentor.

The center recently honored him as Mentor of the Year. This year, he will also be honored at  Cedars-Sinai's Blood Donor Services annual donor recognition event.

"We are grateful for Haskell's years of service to our community and for all of the lives he has helped to save," says Dr. Ellen Klapper, director of transfusion medicine at Cedars-Sinai.

What advice does Haskell have for someone thinking about donating whole blood or platelets?

"It doesn't take a lot of time, and it's a great way to give back," he says. "Just do it!"

Headshot for Ellen B. Klapper, MD

Ellen B. Klapper, MD

Pathology & Laboratory

Ellen B. Klapper, MD

Pathology & Laboratory

Ready to make a blood or platelet donation? Here are some tips on how to prepare:

  • Maintain healthy iron levels by eating iron-rich foods such as red meat, fish, poultry, beans, spinach, iron-fortified cereals, and raisins.
  • Get a good night's sleep.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption before your donation.
  • Eat normally and drink extra fluids before and after your donation.
  • If you are donating platelets, remember that you cannot take aspirin for 2 days prior to the donation.
  • Bring your driver's license or another form of photo ID.

For more information or to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, call 310-423-5346 or visit Cedars-Sinai Blood Donor Services.