Janesville man will reach 25-gallon donation mark
Two pints in a quart.
Four quarts in a gallon.
This week, Lad Vrany will donate another pint of blood. When he gets off the table and has the required milk and sugar cookies, he’ll be presented with a 25-gallon pin.
Now do the math: 25 gallons is 400 cups or 200 pints or 100 quarts.
No matter how you count it, Vrany, 78, has given a lot of blood.
His motivation is simple: He wants to save lives.
“Each unit of blood can possibly save three lives,” Vrany said. “And I love the milk and cookies.”
Vrany’s first experience giving blood was in 1949, and it involved lying about his age.
He was asked to help replace blood used in a surgery. During the initial screening, he and his friends were asked their age. One of Vrany’s friends told the nurse that he was 17, and he was barred from donating.
When she got to the 17-year-old Vrany, he told her that he was 19 and was allowed to donate.
Vrany, whose blood type is A Positive, has actually given far more than 25 gallons of blood in his lifetime.
While he was at basic training during the Korean War, his company was required to give blood for service members. During his time as an elementary school principal in Illinois, he gave blood through a PTA program and encouraged donations.
But it wasn’t until sometime after 1979, when he moved to Wisconsin, that he started to keep track.
“I was issued a Red Cross donor ID card on which donations were recorded,” Vrany wrote in an e-mail to the Gazette. “I was surprised at the amount of my personal total. I made it a point to keep track of upcoming donations and was interested when blood donation drive totals were published in the Gazette.”
The most meaningful donation from Vrany came Jan. 25, when he donated in honor of a “dear family friend,” Wendy Aide.
Aide has myeloproliferative disorder, a condition that causes the bone marrow to pump out more blood cells than the body needs. During an emergency surgery at the University Hospital in Madison, Aide used more than 25 pints of blood.
Vrany said donating blood isn’t painful—it’s more like a “mosquito bite.”
And, of course, a donation is always followed by cookies.
With those kinds of benefits and the life-giving possibilities of the donation itself, he said it’s a wonder more people aren’t involved.
“A lot of people never think about it,” said Tammy Newberry, Red Cross donor recruitment specialist. “They haven’t been asked; it’s never crossed their mind.
“Or they’ve never had a family member who’s been directly effected.”
Gazette reporter Shelly Birkelo contributed to this story.