BloodCenter of Wisconsin senior donor specialist Gary Denu, left, monitored Lance Kachikis of Warrens during a blood drive at Tomah Memorial Hospital Jan. 25. Kachikis normally makes a double red cell donation, which allows a person to donate two units of red blood cells, thereby giving more blood products used by patients. The hospital’s next drive is scheduled March 22.

Lance Kachikis remembers his grandmother’s words to help others by donating blood.

“My grandmother use to say there are many people in this world that need blood, and I figured it (donating blood) was one way to give back,” said Kachikis, who was one of nearly 70 people who turned out to donate blood during a BloodCenter of Wisconsin drive at Tomah Memorial Hospital Jan. 25.

The Warrens resident has been donating blood since 1987.

“I heard about the Wisconsin blood drives that keeps the blood local and distributes it throughout the community, so I figured it was another way to give back to my community, so I started giving pretty much on a regular basis,” Kachikis said.

Kachikis said he used to donate single whole blood units, until there was an opening about two years ago to make a double red cell donation which allows a person to donate two units of red blood cells. “There’s no different feeling,” Kachikis said of the double red process compared to a regular donation.

A double red cell donation is similar to a whole blood donation, except a special machine allows the donor to donate two units of red blood cells during one donation while returning plasma and platelets to the donor and saving time.

Kachikis said he religiously donates blood.

“I think it’s very important that there’s people out there that look out for the needs of others, and it’s a good way to give back to the community,” he said. “It makes me feel real good, and know that I’m helping other lives.”

BCW senior donor specialist Chris Schmidt said 57 units of blood, including four dual reds were collected during the visit to Tomah Memorial. “The community really came out and supported the BloodCenter at a time we really needed the help,” Schmidt said. The BloodCenter made an extra plea for blood saying they had fewer donations recently due to the flu season and bitter cold weather.

BCW is the sole supplier to nearly 60 hospitals throughout the state including Tomah Memorial.

Five more blood drives are scheduled at Tomah Memorial this year with the next one March 22.


Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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