Paul Emilianowicz makes his 500th donation. Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN

PAUL Emilianowicz has become a very familiar face at the Bendigo Red Cross Blood Service.

So much so that he reached a remarkable donation milestone this week.

Mr Emilianowicz donated blood for the 500th time on Wednesday night, and said he did it simply to help others.

“Donating, to me, was a way to help so many people that needed my donations,” he said.

“To give them a chance at the best quality of life; it’s a gift. I have always told many people over time to roll up your sleeve and give it a go, if you are healthy and can find the time in our busy lives, try it.

“It doesn’t matter how many donations you do, you are helping so many people that rely on our generous donations.”

The 47-year-old is one of only few to have donated so many times, and while he may attempt to play it down, the blood service’s Shae Smith said they couldn’t let it pass without recognition.

“Paul is pretty humble about his achievements, but we couldn’t let this milestone go un-noticed,” she said.

“Five-hundred donations means 1500 lives saved, and that’s something to be extremely proud of.”

Winter is traditionally a tough time for the blood service, with many regular donors unavailable due to cold and flu symptoms. Ms Smith said she hoped Mr Emilianowicz’s achievements would inspire others to give blood this winter.