“Donating is part of my life,” observes Heinz Kühlein. And he means it: Heinz has been donating blood or blood plasma since 1970, when he was doing his army service. Ten years later he was donating at the Bavarian Red Cross in Bayreuth and that is where he meet Angela Beck, who was working there. Angie (as Heinz calls her) now works at KEDPLASMA and that is one of the reasons he has been donating plasma there since 2008.
In Germany plasma donors are limited to a maximum of 45 donations per year and Heinz nearly always achieves the maximum. If he is getting close as October approaches, he slows down a bit so he will be there on his birthday on the 10th. He likes the birthday present given to all active donors. He has donated well over 200 times.
He is actually responsible for even more donations because he has inspired many of his friends to donate as well. He sometimes has to reassure them that the little needle prick is nothing to worry about and reminds them that they will walk away feeling good about themselves and with a little extra Trinkgeld in their pockets.
Heinz is retired after 28 years with the Bundesbahn, the German train system. He doesn’t really need the money he gets as reimbursement for his donations, but he does appreciate it: he gives 5 Euros to his grandson and buys a little something – a treat he wouldn’t otherwise buy – for himself. Recently, that was a nice watch, which he says reminds him every time he looks at it that he is helping people with his donation of plasma.
While the idea of helping others is the most powerful motivation for Heinz, he admits to enjoying the time to read magazines and enjoy a cup of cappuccino. And then of course, there is Angie.