Santa Donor Saves Lives Year Round

by Claire DeRoin

SIOUX CITY, IOWA – Twenty four gallon donor Tim Baird is a regular in the Sioux City Donor Center. His specialty? Liquid gold – platelets.

“I’ve always given. I’d give so so,” Tim explained. “It wasn’t a regular basis, and then 9/11 took place. My daughter said ‘Let’s go give blood.’ They took the blood. In the little pouch that’s next to it, before they could even put the tube on it, it had clotted. They said ‘You probably shouldn’t be giving whole blood. You should probably be giving platelets.’ So that’s when I started going on a regular basis to give platelets.”

Like clockwork, Tim gives platelets about once a month and has done so for more than a decade. At first it was something good to do to give back. Then it became personal.

“It wasn’t really meaning anything to me. Then my granddaughter was born – stillborn,” Tim said as his wife looked on solemnly. “They worked on her for about nine minutes before she became stable. They had to give her blood products – a lot. And I saw what it did for her. There’s other people that I know that are cancer patients right now that need, so when you have somebody that you know, it just helps you to continue to do it.”

Besides one of Sioux City’s regular platelet donors, Tim is known as the Santa Donor. Every December during his appointment, he comes in wearing a familiar red suit, handing out candy canes to LifeServe team members and fellow blood donors.

“I just go to different organizations. It’s just fun!” Tim said, his eyes as bright as those of St. Nick himself. “They take pictures and show their children. They have people that are giving whole blood and they want a picture, and they’ll come over and stand next to me while I’m still giving.”

Saving lives while making sure every gets an extra festive dose of that Christmas cheer.

“I just love doing it.”