Cliff Poppel is someone who wants to make sure people get the nourishment they need. “I love to cook,” says this former restaurant manager. “I’ll cook anything. I miss it.” Maybe that explains why he so devoted to helping hundreds of others by being a dedicated blood donor.
He never misses an apheresis appointment, and was right on time for his 300th lifetime donation (a double platelet donation in fact) on Friday, Dec. 14 at the West Chester Community Blood Center. And if he’s not the first person to “like” the story about it on the Community Blood Center Facebook page than we should all be very much surprised.
That’s because among so many other distinctions, Cliff is one of the most loyal CBC friends on Facebook. “I love reading it,” he says of the page. “Especially about the high schools, the new ones, all the people involved with it. A lot of them are first-time donors. I wish I could encourage them all to come back.”
Cliff was born and raised in Hamilton and made his first blood donation at age 16. His mother had just had surgery and she asked Cliff and his brother if they would donate to “replace” the blood she had used. “I credit it all to her,” he said. “I don’t know if I’d be giving today or as much. Ever since, I’ve been going every eight weeks.”
It wasn’t long before he was asked about becoming an apheresis donor. Back then, it meant driving to the Dayton CBC to donate, using the old “two arm” machines and a much longer process. “I guess I have a high platelet count,” he said. “When they had a patient in mind they would call me and I would come up every time.”
To this day, he still thinks “it’s sort of neat” to get a call from CBC telling him his blood was used to help a patient. “One time it went to the hospital in Hamilton where I live,” he said. “That really hit home.”
He started working for the Bombay Bicycle Club restaurant chain in Cincinnati and moved to Ft. Lauderdale, FL to manage a restaurant there, all the time continuing to donate. He came home to Hamilton and continued working in the restaurant industry, eventually taking a job with food services at Miami University. He’s been with MU for 14 years.
He was asked to consider working as a buildings and grounds assistant at the Miami – Hamilton campus, tried it for a month, and decided to stay. It was there that he met a kindred spirit in fellow blood donor Richard Munson, manager of The Conservatory on campus. At first, Cliff trailed Munson in blood donations, but Munson’s regular apheresis appointments at West Chester CBC were interrupted by heart surgery. He’s back to donating whole blood and is at 285 LTD. Cliff has pulled ahead, but they are proud to have combined for 585 donations.
Cliff enjoys working on the buildings and grounds, but admits to missing the kitchen. He was especially proud of his baking. “I still bake cakes for birthdays,” he said. Plus, he has culinary achievements to add to his CBC milestone honors.
“My fudge took first place at the Butler Co. Fair,” he said. “I had breads that took first, second and third places in different categories.”
He credits his sister for introducing him to social media. “She kept telling me ‘you need to get on Facebook’ and I would say what’s that?” says Cliff. She helped him set up an account and he found his way to CommunityBldCenter. “I’ve been following the page for a couple of years – soon as I found out you had one,” he said. “Now I check it every day.”
For Cliff it’s Facebook every day, and apheresis every two weeks. “I hope to get to 500 (lifetime donations),” he said. At age 55, he figures he has a good shot. “Another four years I’ll be at 400. I’d love to reach 500, as long as I’m healthy. I’m in good health, I run every day about four miles, rain or shine.”
Whether it’s cooking, donating, or encouraging Cliff Poppel loves helping others. There’s a lot to “like” about this “Donor for Life.”