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Local man becomes Guinness World Record holder

All he had to do was roll up his sleeves
Posted at 6:36 PM, Jul 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-20 11:03:29-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. — It all started with a simple question.

"I wonder if there's a world record for that," said Jim Kahlman, a new world record holder.

And now there is. Kahlman holds the Guinness World Record for platelet donations. Platelets are tiny disks in your blood that clump together to help form blood clots.

"They act as bricks to block up the holes and then mortor comes in and goes around these bricks," Dr. Joanne Becker, a pathologist at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Cener said.

Cancer patients sometimes lack these platelets. That's where donors like Jim come in. He started donating with his dad back in 1970, when he was just 23.

"It became a routine. Back at that time you could donate 52 times a year, so I went every week," Kahlman said.

Kahlman sat in a donation chair over 1500 times, giving a grand total of 187 gallons of platelets, which really makes a difference.

"We can not do what we do without platelet donors. We wouldn't be able to give people the chemo therapy we give them. They wouldn't be able to survive the chemo therapy that we give them," Dr. Becker said.

"I get choked up if I talk about it. There's a direct person that you get to meet that you had an effect on," Kahlman said.

Torey Hirsch's daughter, Jacquie, most likely received some of Jim's platelets. She died of cancer at just 23, but her father is forever grateful.

"His efforts since 1970... That's remarkable, and he deserves to be commended for this time and efforts," said Hirsch.

And because of families like the Hirches, Jim plans to continue his two and a half hour journey to Roswell Park.

"Just keep on giving," Kahlman said.