The North Bend Eagle

 

Blood crisis brings out donors

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 2/9/22

“If not you, than who?”

This is a question Mike Hunke asks himself, and then he does his part. He donates blood at the American Red Cross blood drive. Hunke started donating in fall of 1975. He was working with his dad, Leo Hunke, when Leo said “Let’s go give blood.” Mike had just turned 18 and continues to donate, now having donated 138 units.

Hunke, 64, now donates “double red” which means a machine is used to withdraw whole blood, the red cells are separated and retained, and the remainder of the blood is returned back to the donor. This donation safely removes twice as many red cells than traditional whole blood. Hunke can donate every 112 days, three times a year. Not everyone can donate double reds, but Hunke with his O-negative blood is a candidate. He also does not have the CMV factor in his blood which makes his blood perfect for pregnant women and infants. He said for a few times when he donated they would hook him up to eight little bags, rather than the one bag commonly used.

Hunke has nine siblings and he is not sure if any of them donate. He does know that his three adult children are all blood donors.
Jeff Mitties first donated blood for himself. He was in Seattle, Washington, to donate bone marrow to his brother, Terry, who had aplastic anemia. His blood was given back to him after the transplant so he would not have any foreign blood in case he needed to donate for his brother again. This was in the summer of 1979, before Mitties’s senior year at North Bend Central. He continues to donate for others use now.

“It’s just a way to give back,” Mitties, 59, said. “There is a never ending need.”

Mitties has AB-negative blood, the blood type of only 1% of the population. He used to get notifications telling him where his blood was used, hearing about its use in Pennslyvania, Texas and Indiana.
His sons are now donors, daughter Paxton still too young. His wife, Deanna, is also a donor.

“It’s just an hour, hour and a half out of my day to save a life,” Mitties said. “You or your family may need it.”

Alan Sloup started giving blood in 1982, his senior year at NBC.

“They gave passes to get out of school to donate,” Sloup said. “It was a good excuse to get out of school.”

 

Read the full story in the print or e-edition.

<<Back to the front page