Cancer survivor honored for 700 blood donations — and no, this doesn’t involve vampires

A local man has made 700 blood donations — and no, his neck isn’t covered in vampire bites.

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Eaton resident Wendell Clark received a commendation from the Ohio Senate for "tremendous generosity" in recognition of his milestone 700th lifetime donation to the Community Blood Center in September.

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The blood center presented the commendation to Clark when he made his 703rd donation on Monday, Oct. 21.

“By volunteering to donate blood at the Community Blood Center, you have helped to save the lives of many victims of accidents and disease for whom blood transfusions are essential,” senators wrote.

The commemoration is signed by Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof and Sen. Steve Huffman, who represents the 5th District, which includes Eaton.

Blood center spokesperson Mark Pompilio told this news organization that the first 100 or so of Clark's donations were whole blood.

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He later switched to donating platelets and plasma.

Pompilio said platelets can be donated 24 times a year while plasma can be donated every 28 days.

Clark retired from Neaton Auto Products Manufacturing in Eaton, but now works there part time.

He donates platelets and plasma twice a month. Platelets treat cancer, trauma, transplant and burn patients.

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Plasma helps those with chronic illness and traumas.

In the mid-80s, Clark was among a group of donors asked to donate plasma for an infant whose father was stationed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Kay Ollech, the collections services director,  said as part of a press release.

At the time, Clark had donated 72 units of whole blood.

“It was for a baby with a clotting disorder. They gave her a massive amount of plasma to stop her bleeding. We had gathered together A, B and AB donors. It was a limited donor pool, and it was for lifelong support,” she said.

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Clark has been the Community Blood Center’s top active donor since 2010 and became its all-time top donor with 602 donation on Nov. 14, 2013.

He stopped donating blood as he fought prostate cancer in 2014.

“The prostate test came back positive, and the first thing that went through my mind was, I can’t donate,” he said in a statement to the media.

Clark received surgery and was deferred from donating for two years.

The blood center says he resumed donating exactly two years later and was inducted into the Fresenius Kabi National Donation Hall of Fame in 2017.

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“I feel like one way I can help other people is to donate my blood products to them,” Clark said. “Other than having the cancer I’ve been fairly healthy. So, I can help out people who are not as fortunate.”

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