Keith and Susan Koscal know when it is time to do the right thing. The Tomah couple was among nearly 90 people who donated blood during a two-day blood drive coordinated by Tomah Health and Versiti BloodCenter of Wisconsin at Tomah’s Recreation Park Jan 26 & 27.
Both Keith and Susan said some past health issues prohibited them from donating earlier, but added that they wanted to help others by donating again. “Everybody is a little skittish about needles, but you’re donating your blood and some time, but you should do it gladly,” Keith said. “It’s the right thing to do and it’s a gift that keeps on giving,” Susan added.
Keith and Susan said the fact that Tomah Health receives blood from Versiti is an important reason to donate and support the local hospital. “Originally, the first time I came that was the reason that I came to Versiti,” Susan said. Versiti is the sole supplier of blood to nearly 50 hospitals in Wisconsin including Tomah Health.
The Koscals said they look forward to continuing to donate and hope others do too. “It’s not a painful process,” Susan said. “It’s a short process and it can be very helpful to someone who needs it.”
Versiti BloodCenter account representative Emalea Cogdill said the Jan. 26 & 27 drive accounted for 87 blood donations that will help to save more than 250 lives at community hospitals like Tomah Health. “Donors in Tomah continue to show up in huge numbers to help us provide the blood products necessary at Tomah Health and our community hospitals,” Cogdill said.
She said the impact of COVID-19 would continue to affect blood supplies and drives. “There’s always going to be a need. We are going to continue to need communities, like Tomah to set up and make up for drives that are still unable to host,” Cogdill said. “Schools and businesses are typically Versiti’s largest source of blood donations this time of year, but because of virtual schooling, many of those drives have been canceled.”
Tomah Health marketing & public relations director Eric Prise said despite COVID-19, donors continue to support the hospital. “We continue to be thankful to all the donors and to the Tomah Parks & Recreation Dept., for use of the site for our blood drives,” Prise said. Drives have been moved from Tomah Health due to continued COVID visitor restrictions at the hospital.
Prise said the next Tomah Health blood drive is scheduled March 24 & 25 at Recreation Park.
Thank You Donors
Officials at Tomah Health are also praising the support of local blood donors this past year. Tomah Health marketing & public relations director Eric Prise said more than 400 donors attended ten blood drives held in 2020. “The support for our drives last year was absolutely outstanding considering the COVID pandemic,” Prise said. “We also could not have been so successful without our partners from Versiti BloodCenter of Wisconsin and officials from the Tomah School District and city of Tomah for allowing us to hold drives at the Tomah Middle School and High School and Recreation Park,” said Prise who also coordinates the drives on behalf of the hospital.” He said no drives were held at Tomah Health this past year due to COVID visitor restrictions.
The 2020 blood statistics included the collection of more than 460 blood products from 10 drives that will save more than 1,200 lives. The figures compared to 286 blood products collected during six drives held in 2019.
“We’ve actually used Tomah Health’s success in 2020 and what they’ve done to be able to push through COVID-19 restrictions and still host drives and collect even more blood products. They have been an example to us across Versiti as to what can be done, especially in a small community to raise awareness for the need for blood and to increase collections,” Versiti BloodCenter account representative Emalea Cogdill said.
Versiti is the sole supplier of blood to nearly 50 hospitals in Wisconsin including Tomah Health.