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Celebrating our first 200-gallon donor

Marion Sohl: Retired donkey breeder and current hero to the community. 

Everyone here at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is celebrating as Sohl is scheduled to reach 200 gallons in donations this month, a first for our donors.

Sohl, who turns 78 on March 13, has helped save thousands of lives in the 38 years he’s been a blood donor. He made his first blood donation in 1983 to support a family member, and he became the eighth person at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center to give 100 gallons in 2001. 

Twenty years later, Sohl will be the first to achieve this new milestone. 

 “Donating is my priority. It’s the first thing that goes on my calendar—It’s a habit,” Sohl said of his continued dedication. 

Still, with a laugh, Sohl admits that competition is a big part of what drove him to give blood regularly. He and a friend both regularly gave at their church drives in Conroe, but Sohl’s friend was two gallons ahead of him. A traveling salesman at the time, Sohl popped into whatever donor center he was closest to when he was eligible to give.  

Then, in the mid-1980s, Sohl began donating under a new program—apheresis. The newly launched program gave blood donors the option to give just one blood component—platelets, plasma or red blood cells. The program allowed Sohl to increase his contributions to twice a week. 

The commitment to saving lives runs in the family. For 16 years, Sohl’s wife, Jeanine, helped organize blood drives at their church. His son had donated a gallon of blood before he turned 18.  

It would take five oil barrels to hold all the blood Sohl has given over the years. What an amazing achievement! We can’t wait to see what else our donors can accomplish when they commit to saving lives through blood donation.  

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center needs to collect about 1,000 donations a day to serve patients in our community, but we can’t do it alone. We need you. There are two ways you can join Sohl as a hero to our community: By donating blood or by hosting a blood drive

Remember, blood cannot be manufactured. One person must donate it for another.  

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