Cedars-Sinai Blog

Saving Lives One Donation at a Time

For the last 18 years, Fred Zaidman has been making bimonthly trips to Cedars-Sinai's Blood Donor Services to make lifesaving blood and platelet donations. Fred began making regular visits after his father received a live-saving transfusion in 1999 and he wanted to give back.

"It occurred to me that 6 people I didn't know had come to Cedars-Sinai to donate their blood for the community. Had it not been for them my father would have died in a short time," says Fred. "I decided then to do the same—donate my blood to an anonymous patient."

Many of the medical and surgical treatments provided in a hospital, including organ transplants, cardiac surgery, and treatment of major trauma, would not be possible without blood donations.

"We don't have to be doctors or EMTs or firefighters to save someone's life. It can be as simple as coming into a blood donor center and donating."

Since he started, Fred has donated whole blood 63 times and platelets 227 times—making him the top platelet donor in Cedars-Sinai history. Because each donation is capable of helping more than one person at a time, his 290 donations have touched the lives of nearly 600 strangers.

"Blood only comes from volunteers who selflessly share their good health with those in need; it cannot be manufactured or bought," says Dr. Ellen Klapper, medical director of Transfusion Medicine. "Community blood donors serve as a lifeline for our patients and we are truly in their debt and grateful for their generosity."

Because blood can only be stored for 6 weeks, and it takes several days to prepare blood for transfusion, regular donors like Fred help ensure a ready supply of blood for patients.

"We don't have to be doctors or EMTs or firefighters to save someone's life," Fred says. "It can be as simple as coming into a blood donor center and donating. It's just one way of doing it, and it's a great feeling."

Headshot for Ellen B. Klapper, MD

Ellen B. Klapper, MD

Pathology & Laboratory

Ellen B. Klapper, MD

Pathology & Laboratory

Ready to make a blood donation?

Here are some tips on how to prepare before your donation:

  • Maintain a healthy iron level in your blood 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 the night before your donation.
  • Drink an extra 16 oz. of water prior to your donation.
  • Eat a healthy meal before your donation. Avoid fatty foods, such as hamburgers, fries or ice cream before donating. (Fatty foods can affect the tests we do on your blood. If there is too much fat in your blood, your donation cannot be tested for infectious diseases and the blood cannot be used for transfusion.)
  • If you are donating platelets, remember that your system must be free of aspirin for 2 days prior to donation.
  • Remember to bring your donor card, driver's license, or another form of photo ID.

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