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Donating blood comes easy to Shari Berry. In fact, the 47 year-old Tomah woman makes a double donation when she donates.

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.

“Giving blood is easy for me, and if making the most of my time donating by giving double what they can use helps them, I’m willing to do it,” said Berry who was one of five people to make a double donation during a BloodCenter of Wisconsin drive at Tomah Memorial Hospital Nov. 29.

BloodCenter is the sole supplier of blood to 57 hospitals in Wisconsin including Tomah Memorial.

“In my mind there are ways to get involved and support your community and some of those things take a lot of time, but by donating blood you can make a huge difference for a short amount of investment,” said Berry, who has been donating blood since 1994 when she first donated in college. “If you can help local as well as in the state, it just feels like you’re doing a little bit more,” she added.

BloodCenter officials were asking area residents to help meet blood supplies in anticipation of the holiday season.

“Heading into the holiday season, we usually see a decline in donations due to everyone’s busy schedules,” said Jennifer Stelzer, BCW blood program consultant.

Stelzer praised donors for a great turnout during Thursday’s drive that resulted in 71 units of blood collected that she said will help save 213 lives.

TMH Marketing and public relations director Eric Prise said the hospital will host one more drive before the end of the year.

“Anyone unable to make our November drive can take part in a special holiday blood drive scheduled Dec. 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tomah Memorial,” said Prise. “It certainly would make for a unique holiday tradition.”

It is the second consecutive year the hospital has scheduled a day-after-Christmas event.

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Tomah Journal editor

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

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