M.A.S.H. blood drive celebrates fifth anniversary
Jerry Shidell was looking for an answer to a problem.
In summer, there is more people in the Northwoods but the season is also the time of the year when less people give blood.
“People get busy with all the things there are to do around the summer,” said Shidell, who volunteers with the Community Blood Center. “So the blood supply is at its lowest. The thing is that the summer is when the need for blood is the highest.”
With more people, comes more injuries and more of a need for life saving blood.
So Shidell was searching for a way to get people to give blood during the summer months and the answer came to him during a trip to Merrill.
“Merrill was putting on a M.A.S.H. Blood Drive and I thought why can’t we do that up here,” Shidell said. “We knocked it around a bit and we just decided to do it. And the community has been very responsive.”
Based on the 70s television program, the blood drive is held in tents in Pioneer Park. The staff even gets in the spirit by wearing Army medic fatigues like those the characters on the show wore.
This year’s M.A.S.H. Blood Drive will be July 8 at the park from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. but this year is no ordinary blood drive. The drive is celebrating its fifth anniversary and has seen steady growth over the years.
“A lot of people see the tents and come over to see what it is about,” said Jan Hadsell, account specialist with the Community Blood Center. “We have a lot of tourist who come in.”
The goal for this year is to reach 200 donors.
“We have not gotten to 200 donors,” Sidell said. “We have gotten in the 190s but never 200.”
For those that come into donate on their lunch hour, they can help themselves to a free lunch provided by the Volunteers at St. Mary’s Hospital.
“From 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. we serve food for the workers and those that donate,” said volunteer coordinator Diane Micke. “We have been doing it for five years now and it works out really well.”
Even if a donor can’t make it during the lunch hour, there are several volunteers around to make sure donors are healthy and feeling good after donating.
Sondie Wilson has been coordinating volunteers to look after donors after they have given blood.
“We have volunteers there from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to make sure the donors are OK after giving blood,” Wilson said. “We give them something to eat and make sure they are feeling good before we let them go.”
Walk in donations are welcome at M.A.S.H. blood drive but anyone wanting to give blood must have a photo id. Those who wish to make an appointment can do so by going to the site save3lives.org.