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Business of the Week: Blood Centers in North Central Wisconsin

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Warsaw Pilot & Review

Editor’s note: business of the week is a sponsored feature that shares the stories of locally owned and operated businesses in the Wausau region, highlighting the products and services they offer and how they contribute to the metropolitan area’s unique flavor. Learn how to showcase your business by emailing

This week’s featured Wausau business is: North Central Wisconsin Blood Center, an organization with a clear mission: to alleviate suffering and save lives by providing a safe, reliable, voluntary supply of blood and blood components. Located at 211 Forest Street, downtown Wausau, Wisconsin The North Central Blood Center team has been serving the community as a non-profit blood supplier since 1952 and currently operates in Marathon, Langlade, Taylor, Portage, Wood, Columbia, Lincoln and Oneida counties. County, Villas County. To better serve communities and save more lives, BCNW and The Community Blood Center (CBC) joined forces earlier this year to combine both blood centers under a new non-profit organizational structure. Created an alliance, Midwest Blood Centers. This partnership will help BCNW continue its mission by protecting the health and welfare of the community and ensuring rapid access to blood and blood components for all patients and families in need.

The organization’s president and CEO, Emily Jolin, said she wants more people to know how easy it is to donate blood and how much is really needed.

“I want people to know how easy this process is,” Jolin said. “It is the blood that is already in stock that is useful in emergency situations. Blood is perishable and has a limited shelf life. The supply must be continually replenished. It is also important to note that it must be taken from a donor of

Here she talks about the process of donating blood, the urgent need to donate, who can and cannot donate, and how to start donating. If you haven’t donated blood recently or considered it, now is the perfect time. Walk-ins are welcome, or you can book now at

Please proceed with the process. What is the experience from start to finish when someone comes to donate blood?

Those who come to donate blood are first registered in our hospital’s system and are asked to fill out a medical questionnaire. Next, a member of her staff will review your health history with you and do a mini-her physical (a finger stick check to measure pulse, temperature, blood pressure, and hemoglobin levels). After this screening, head to the blood collection area where units of blood are drawn. The actual blood draw usually takes about 10 minutes. After donating, move to the canteen area to enjoy drinks and snacks, the process completes in about 45-60 minutes.

In the summer we often hear about serious blood shortages. why does that happen?

Summer is the perfect storm for blood shortages. There are usually fewer donors to offer, which can lead to increased use of blood products. Blood donors are busy with summer schedules, vacations, and travel, and we miss out on school blood drives held throughout the year. The increased demand for the product is also due to an increase in trauma during the summer months.

How important are current supply levels?

We currently have a very small blood supply, especially for type O, but all blood types are welcome!

What types of blood donations are there and what is required for each type?

BCNW is currently focused on whole blood and platelet collection. Whole blood means giving 1 unit (approximately 1 pint) of blood. Because the product can be processed into her two blood components, red blood cells and plasma, a single donation can benefit up to two patients. Platelets are collected using an automated method and the process takes approximately 2 hours. A single procedure yields 1-3 units of platelet concentrate, useful for up to 3 patients. Collect whole blood at donor centers and blood drives. Currently, platelets are collected only at donor centers.

Are you eligible to donate blood? Who can donate?

To be eligible to donate, a donor must be at least 17 years old, or 16 years old with parental consent, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in general good health. As part of the donation process, donors undergo a screening and mini-physical to ensure they are healthy to donate.There is no upper age limit. Whole blood can be donated every eight weeks.

what disqualifies you? For example, is there a waiting period after getting a tattoo or piercing?

Since low hemoglobin is the most common reason for deferment, we encourage donors to eat healthy, iron-rich foods (and stay hydrated!) before donating. Recent travel destinations and other risk factors may cause delays, but the best way to find out if you’re eligible to donate is to call 715-842-0761. We are happy to answer any questions about our qualifications. Most common prescription medications are acceptable, such as blood pressure and cholesterol medications. Tattoos and piercings done at state-regulated facilities are acceptable as soon as they heal.

Do you only want to donate blood or can you make an appointment to donate at any time?

In addition to our fixed site in downtown Wausau, we also donate blood in many communities in Central Wisconsin every Monday through Friday from 8am to 4:30pm. Go to The fixed site is open until 18:30 on the second Tuesday of every month. Many of our blood drives also offer evening hours.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

I think the hardest part of our job is simply maintaining supply. More specifically, trying to keep current donors and attract new donors. This is becoming more and more of a struggle with each passing year. Nationally, statistics show that the overall donor population is aging. From 2017 to 2019, donations from individuals over the age of 65 increased by 15.1%, while donations from individuals aged 19 to her 24 fell by 15.1%. At this rate, we will not be able to maintain the blood supply in the future.

What are you most satisfied with?

The most satisfying part is watching donors unselfishly donate this precious gift to make it available to friends, family and neighbors.

Connect with Blood Centers in North Central Wisconsin

  • Direct visit: 211 Forest St., Wausau
  • Phone: 715-842-0761
  • online at
  • Click here for Facebook