Officials from Tomah Health and Versiti BloodCenter of Wisconsin say more than 200 lives will be saved thanks to residents who donated blood during a two-day blood drive held Nov. 29 & 30 at Tomah’s Recreation Park.
Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin account representative Emalea Cogdill said 78 donors contributed 221 blood products during the two days.
“Donors seem to always see the need for blood collections and are very supportive of their drives and understand how the blood that we collect at these drives goes to our community hospitals,” said Cogdill.
Versiti is the sole supplier of blood to nearly 50 hospitals in Wisconsin including Tomah Health.
While Tomah Health drives have had a consistent turnout throughout the year, Cogdill said it is challenging to get new donors to donate. “While there is not an age limit when someone can donate, due to medications and medical-deferrals, we do see a lot of donors that are unable to give. We don’t see a lot of the young population come in because I feel many times they would rather give a monetary donation than an hour of their time; but that blood donation that can save three lives is worth that hour.”
Cogdill said the current blood supply is far from what she would consider ‘stable and ready.’ “We are constantly challenged, especially during the holidays to meet the demand. People are always busy and finding other things to do instead of giving blood.”
Despite the challenges, Cogdill is hopeful for the coming year. “I feel that in 2023 people are going to look for ways to give back. They have been kind of limited in what they can do in the outreach in the community over the last few years, so I do hope that in 2023 people see that blood donation is a way they can give back to their community,” she said.
Tomah Health holds six drives through the year, which Cogdill said helps meet the needs of Tomah Health. “The donors that we have that come to the Tomah Health blood drives always reschedule to donate again when we are back here in nine weeks. Having that consistency in those donations and being able to plan ahead to give our hospital partners the blood they need into the future is always beneficial,” said Cogdill. “We always need new donors to keep our blood supply stable and ready for our health care partners.”
Tomah Health marketing and public relations director Eric Prise acknowledged support from the Tomah Parks & Recreation Dept. for use of the facilities at Recreation Park for the drives. “We are especially thankful to parks & recreation director Joe Protz and his staff for hosting all of our drives this year,” he said.
Prise said six drives are scheduled for 2023 with the first one planned Jan. 31 & Feb. 1.