DAYTON, Ohio – Fairborn donor and retired U.S. Air Force Captain Larry Lapuh has logged many miles as a marathon runner and a Donor for Life. Giving blood to help save lives has become such an established routine that he jogged through the July 6 celebration of his 500th lifetime blood donation and left feeling apologetic. He wished he had shown more excitement about his milestone.
The Dayton Community Blood Center staff celebrated Larry with pats on the back, helium balloons, and a table of cupcakes arranged in the number “500.” He took home some cupcakes but left behind the balloons.
“I felt good,” explained Larry. “It was good for me. It’s consistency, that’s all. Just keep doing it. But it’s like when people ask me about donating so much and I jokingly tell them, ‘This is my social event of the week.’”
Larry has a 25-year history with CBC and everyone that knows him has come to appreciate his tranquil demeanor and dry sense of humor. “They all put up with me!” he said.
Larry began donating in his hometown of Granville, Illinois and continued in the military. His history with CBC began with a phone call. He had volunteered to be a bone marrow donor in 1992, the same year he retired from the Air Force. CBC contacted him in 1994 to ask if he would become one of the first donors in CBC’s fledgling bone marrow program.
After a six-month recovery period from his bone marrow donation he became a blood donor with CBC. Soon he was donating platelets and plasma. He kept increasing his pace until he was averaging 20 or more donations a year. He reached his milestone 400th donation in 2013 and said, “It’s the right thing to do, so you do it.”
Larry has a similar passion for running. He has run 19 marathons, including the Air Force Marathon, hosted by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base where he worked in supply and budgeting from his arrival there in 1985 to retirement.
His marathoner mentality shows both in the way his exercise routine keeps him lean and fit and in his dedication to twice-a-month apheresis donations.
Larry is a long distance runner in every sense. He keeps a steady pace, stays the course, and keeps driving toward the finish line of every new challenge.
The last marathon Larry ran was in 2008. “I’d still like to do another one,” he said, “but each year gets worse! I did 13 miles on Saturday and it made me realize how hard it is.”
He faces challenges to maintaining his marathon pace of platelet donations, but he never claims that the giving is hard to do. He just makes it look calm and easy.