The North Bend Eagle


Hunke to donate 100th unit to American Red Cross

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 4/23/14

Much has changed for Mike Hunke over the past 38 years, but one constant has been his willingness to donate blood.

On April 24, Hunke will donate his 100th unit of blood to the American Red Cross at the North Bend Auditorium. Those 100 units are equivalent to 12.5 gallons of blood that Hunke has donated over the years.

Mike HunkeHunke

Hunke’s father, the late Leo Hunke of Snyder, was also a regular donor.
“If not you, who?” Hunke said his father told him.

Hunke, 56, has O negative blood, the universal donor blood – anyone with other types can receive O negative.

Hunke’s is even more useful because he is CMV negative. CMV, formally known as Cytomegalovirus, is a virus 50 to 80 percent of the population has been exposed to. Exposure doesn’t make a person ill, as the harshest side effects are slight flu-like symptoms. But donors who have never been exposed to the virus produce blood that is more suitable for low-birth weight babies and patients with low resistance.

Hunke said he remembers about 25 years ago, when his blood was pumped into eight little bags to go directly to the babies. Even though that doesn’t happen any more, the Red Cross is always happy to see him.

“Every time you go something is different,” Hunke said. “As often as I’ve given, there are plenty of stories.”

Hunke used to keep track of how many times he’d donated, but with donating “double reds” he lost track of the number.

When a person donates double reds, they donate two units of red blood cells during one donation while the plasma and platelets are returned to the donor’s body. This can only be done every four months, where as single unit donation can be done every eight weeks. Hunke said it takes about 20 minutes longer to donate doubles, but it saves him an hour next time the Bloodmobile is in town.

According to the Red Cross, an estimated 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate, yet less than 10 percent actually donate.

“It takes an hour out of your day,” Hunke said. “You can’t get it from dogs or hogs, it has to be from people to people.”

Hunke encourages people to make reservations by calling local chairmen Caryn Moser (402-652-8669) or Lois Otte (402-666-5214).

“They really try to accommodate you when you have an appointment,” he said. “Everyone should do it.”

Though Hunke is reaching his big number with this blood drive, he knows of others, who have also big donors.

Blood drive co-chairman Caryn Moser said that list includes Don Andrews, 90 units of blood donated at the North Bend blood drive, Francis Ruskamp, 95, Jeff Mitties, 103, Robert Moser, 109, Irish Krepel, 110, Dude Vosler, 135, and Carol Snover, 156.

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