Jean Brasic doesn’t need any special incentive to donate blood. The Tomah resident was among 76 people who donated blood during a two-day Tomah Health/Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin drive at Recreation Park July 20-21.
“About 50 years ago, my brother and his wife lost their three-year-old son to leukemia and during the course of treatment, while the doctors were trying to save his life, he received many transfusions. Somebody gave blood to try to save his life, so it’s been important to me to do the same,” Brasic said while holding back tears. “It’s a good way to give back.”
Versiti is the sole supplier of blood to nearly 50 hospitals in Wisconsin including Tomah Health, which Brasic said is important to her.
“I think it’s really important to give to an organization that helps our local hospitals and in the state of Wisconsin,” she said. “This is a community effort and these are my friends and neighbors, so if I can help in this small way, that’s a good thing.”
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Brasic could not guess the number of gallons of blood she has donated during the years, but admits it is not an important statistic.
“It’s also kind of special that Versiti sends me a note and tells me what hospital my blood has gone to, so that’s kind of cool, and it’s usually somewhere very local,” she said.
Brasic said she will continue to support the local drives and encourages others to donate too.
“The folks here at Versiti are very professional. They are going to help you through every step of the way. It really is a pretty painless process,” she said. “What else can you do in such a short amount of time that gives back to the community so much? It always has been a priority.”
Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin account representative Emalea Cogdill said Tomah Health blood drives continue to be successful.
“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,” she said. “They always step up and donate.”
Cogdill said the 76 donors provided blood products that will save more than 216 lives during the July 20-21 drive.
“Versiti is incredibly grateful for the continued support of the entire Tomah community in helping us provide a healthy and stable blood supply to our hospital partners, including Tomah Health,” Cogdill said.
As an extra incentive, all attempting donors received a coupon for a free pint of frozen custard courtesy of Culver’s of Tomah.
“During a hot day in Wisconsin what is better that Culver’s frozen custard,” Tomah Health marketing director Eric Prise said. “We appreciate the support from Culver’s of Tomah and their ‘Give a Pint, Get a Pint’ program as a small way to thank our donors.”
He also acknowledged support from the Tomah Parks & Recreation Dept. for use of the facilities at Recreation Park for the drive. Prise said two more drives will be held yet this year, including a two-day drive Sept. 28-29.