The Artful Donor

October 9, 2011 by Henry Benjamin
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A Melbourne biochemist ranks in the top 25 nominated for Vegemite’s Toast of Australia award. Peter Schiff holds the Victorian record for blood donations.

Peter Schiff photo: Australian Red Cross Blood Service

The 76-yr-old scientist has been a blood donor for 57 years and has donated blood, plasma and platelets over 560 times.

Red Cross statistics claim that three lives are saved with each donation making Schiff directly responsible for 1600 lives.

Schiff, born in Berlin in 1935, said: “My interest in blood dates back to 1953 when, as a third-year medical student, I became a voluntary after-hours driver for the Blood Bank in Sydney. I decided that I should start donating blood, a habit that I have continued to this day. I now donate plasma rather than whole blood, and am currently the highest donor in Victoria.”

He grew up in Sydney, but made a career move to Melbourne.

Peter Schiff was the inaugural president of the B’nai B’rith Raoul Wallenberg unit in Melbourne and is a keen philatelist. He was awarded an OAM in 2009 for services to the Jewish community and haematology.

Donating blood in Victoria used to have an age limit of 75. But Schiff has convinced the Red Cross that 81 is a more appropriate age. He told J-Wire: “I will continue to donate for as long as I can. If i have to stop at 81, well so be it.”

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