Living the dream of a log home nestled into 11 wooded acres comes with a price for Mike Deschenes. He has a daily 75-mile commute to his job in Beavercreek that lately has become daunting. Along the way he has worked in enough visits to the Dayton Community Blood Center to zoom past his milestone 200th lifetime blood donation.
Mike reached the milestone by beginning the New Year with an apheresis donation on Friday, Jan. 7. He tries to average more than 20 platelet and plasma donations a year, and that’s despite run of bad luck during his commutes that have made him reconsider his favorite earth-tone color of brown.
Mike and his wife Julie were newlyweds when they discovered their dream home and moved to Bainbridge in 1991. He commuted to his job at Defense Research Associates and she continued her 30-year career as an RN at Dayton Children’s Hospital.
They’ve gone years with an accident, but in the last three years they’ve had three run-ins with deer. Mike’s had two car-deer collisions and Julie had one, and Mike is tempted to blame it on the brown.
“Both cars are brown,” he said. “We decided to never get a brown car again!” (If his theory is correct, it may be an insight into why Rudolph the Reindeer travels with a shiny red nose).
Mike’s journey to 200 donations began when he lived in Florida. “When I got up here my brother-in-law got me into doing more whole blood,” he said. “I donated quite a few times with him. He had over 100 whole blood donations, and that’s pretty consistent for a long period of time!”
Mike often donated at Dayton Children’s blood dries, but became a regular at the Dayton CBC when he began donating platelets and plasma. He credits his wife and her work with young cancer patients for the inspiration to keep donating.
“It’s mostly my wife,” he said. “She used to work in the hematology and oncology unit. With the drive that I have I don’t have a lot of time to do other things so I figure this is a good way to give back.”
Mike’s donation history is not all that keeps growing. “We do have a garden,” he said, comparing its size to the CBC waiting area as he sat in the Donor Café. “It’s enough to keep us busy.” Mike can hope for a bountiful harvest… if those pesky deer will just leave the garden alone!