VANDALIA — This Labor Day had special meaning for Vandalia donor Mike Demuth. He retired in November from his long engineering career with The Dupps Company. He rededicated himself to blood donations by becoming a platelet donor and on Aug. 29 made his 100th lifetime donation. And he is rededicated to the full-time, unpaid labor of helping provide comfort at Hospice of Dayton.
Mike’s history as a whole blood donor dates back to the early years of his career. “It’s been a long time ago,” he said. “I would donate once in a while here (at the Dayton Community Blood Center) or when the mobiles were at The Dupps Company.”
The loss of loved ones influenced Mike to donate. “It came more from a friend who died of cancer 25 years ago,” he said. “It was about the same time my sister passed from pancreatic cancer. She was 47 – too young.”
Mike averaged four whole blood donations year before making his first platelet and plasma donations in 2016. He is now exclusively an apheresis donor.
“When I retired the first of November I started going back into apheresis because I had more time and not so many other things going on.”
But Mike’s time is suddenly in much higher demand. In 2017 he started volunteering at Hospice of Dayton with patient visitations. After he retired, he wanted to do more and “hooked up with the maintenance people.”
Landscaping is a point of pride at Hospice, where they say it “provides our patients with views from their care suites of well-manicured grounds featuring butterfly gardens, shade trees, flowering plants.”
When the long-time groundskeeper at Hospice passed away unexpectedly, Mike felt a calling. “I’m at Hospice eight hours a day, five days a week,” he said. “It’s not just the grounds. The care suites have planters and this year we planted thousands of pansies.”
So Labor Day arrives with Mike busier than ever. He and his wife Karen have been married 37 years and have three children and a grandson. He reached his milestone 100th donation with his ninth donation of 2018. And there is much to do each new season at Hospice.