Fighting cancer in his blood — and ink

DAYTON — Troy donor Mark Estes makes no secret about his passion for donating platelets to help patients fight cancer. It’s as plain as the tattoo of a “type O+” blood bag on his shin with the tubing running up his leg.

“I got that two or three years ago,” said Mark. “I want to get a cancer ribbon on the left leg.”

Mark can now also make a statement when he wears the “Donor for Life” jacket he received for his milestone 100th lifetime donation March 1 at the Dayton Community Blood Center. Mark started donating whole blood in 2004 and has been making platelets, plasma, and double red blood cell donations since 2009.

“It’s important to me,” said Mark, who has juggled his work in the restaurant business to make the more time-consuming platelet donations throughout the pandemic. “I can’t be too busy to do that. I just get up earlier!”

His trip to CBC included a stop to pick up donuts for the phlebotomists who helped celebrate his milestone.

“My dad passed away in ’01 and had cancer,” said Mark, who grew up in St. Paris. “I’d go with him to treatments and would ask, ‘What are you giving him?’ I thought, I want to change to platelets. That’s when I realized how many people need it, not just people having surgery, or got hurt. My best friend Doug died in ’05. He had brain cancer. I’ve tried to do it from then to now.”

Make an appointment at www.DonorTime.com or call (937) 461-3220.