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Man to reach 100 gallons in lifetime blood donations in La Quinta

LA QUINTA, Calif. - A Big Bear City man is set to be recognized on Tuesday for reaching 100 gallons in lifetime blood donations during a donor ceremony in La Quinta.

Jonathan Bechtel, 73, will complete the milestone during a noontime ceremony at LifeStream Blood Bank's La Quinta donor center.

According to the Coachella Valley blood bank, Bechtel will be the 19th donor to reach the 100-gallon donation mark in LifeStream's history and the first to do so at the La Quinta donor center.

Read: LifeStream Nine Cities Blood Drive Challenge awards 

Bechtel's donating began in 1964, when he said he gave blood for a badly injured friend who hurt himself "riding his unicycle down the 405 Freeway during rush hour.''

That moment led the military veteran and Tucson native to donate regularly over the next 50 years. Bechtel donates platelets rather than whole blood, allowing him to donate frequently enough to reach the 100-gallon plateau, according to LifeStream.

"If the topic ever comes up with a non-donor, I simply point out that with an hour or two of minor inconvenience you can literally save a life,'' Bechtel said. "Literally save a life -- thank about that for a second. Can you possibly think of a stronger motivation?''

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