Central Wisconsin needs blood right now, as donations are down across the country. Experts say that's the case every summer.
It's a trend Joe Calderaro of Wausau has been trying to reverse since college--more than 50 years ago.
Calderaro donates about every six weeks. He told us over the years, doing it has become a habit. The 71-year-old can't even remember how much blood he's donated.
"I get my orange juice and before I leave, I'll stuff my pockets with potato chips," he said of his ritual.
Calderaro doesn't just give whole blood, but also platelets and plasma.
"You're helping people. It's something that can't be manufactured you know it's got to come from other people so I do get that feeling of helping people," he added.
Employees at the Blood Center of Northcentral Wisconsin said people like Calderaro are invaluable because his blood type--O-negative--can be given to anyone.
"If we run short on a certain blood type we give people a call and they do come in and donate," said Administrative Director Diane Carlson.
Carlson said every year, blood donations drop in the summertime.
"People are gone on vacation, businesses are very busy," she said.
According to the Red Cross, 44,000 blood donations are needed each day in the United States. The ones donated in central Wisconsin, stay local.
"We need to take care of our local needs first and it's great that we have people in the community and local businesses that do support their local community blood center," said Carlson.
Calderaro said the process is easy and painless. He plans to donate as long as he can.
"I have very good veins," he said with a laugh.
For more information on how you can donate blood, click here: http://www.redcrossblood.org/
You can check out the local center in Wausau by clicking here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blood-Center-of-Northcentral-Wisconsin/150059305035482
1908 Grand Avenue, Wausau, WI 54403
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