Eaton’s Wendell Clark enters ‘800 Club’


EATON — Eaton blood donor Wendell Clark is an unbreakable branch on the Community Blood Center family tree. He is CBC’s “Iron Man” all-time top donor, with each new donation groundbreaking and each milestone making history.

Wendell scaled a new summit on May 15 by becoming the first member of CBC’s “the 800 Club.” He donated plasma for his milestone 800th lifetime blood donation.

He did it his way: relaxing with a book in his lap (usually a western, mystery or fantasy novel), and wearing the red donor t-shirt from CBC’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2014. He proudly wore the same t-shirt standing with CBC staff members to form a “human blood drop” for a commemorative photo.

“I know it’s a big milestone,” Clark said. “Actually, doing plasma, it’s just another routine donation. When you stop and think, each unit is a pint, so that’s 100 gallons of blood, and that’s a lot of blood!”

Clark is 70 years old and retired from his career at Neaton Auto Products. He routinely alternates platelet and plasma donations every two weeks. He made 25 donations in 2022 and reached 800 with his 10th donation of 2023.

Clark has been CBC’s top active donor since 2010. He made his 600th lifetime donation on Oct. 24, 2013 and became CBC’s “Top Donor of All Time” with his 602nd lifetime donation on Nov. 14, 2013. He had 535 lifetime donations in 2011 when he threw out the first pitch at a Dayton Dragons baseball game. He said, “My goal is to hit 600, but if I can stay healthy, I can hit 800.”

He was forced to stop donating in 2014 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. “The prostate test came back positive, and the first thing that went through my mind was, I can’t donate,” he said.

He underwent successful surgery and was deferred from donating for two years. Exactly two years later, he was back donating. Wendell was inducted into the Fresenius Kabi National Donation Hall of Fame in 2017. He made his 700th lifetime donation Sept. 9, 2019.

His next goal is 900. “I’m hoping in about four years – I hope so,” he said. “It’s just another donation, but it’s a big donation this time really. One thing that’s really kind of sad for me is that Kay didn’t live long enough to see it, because she’s the one that recruited me for apheresis.”

Former Collection Services Director Kay Ollech passed away in August 2022 at the age of 66 after battling cancer. She came to CBC in 1983 to supervise apheresis collections.

When Clark celebrated his 700th donation in 2019 Ollech told him, “Thank you for saying ‘yes’ all those years ago.”

“They gave me the information at the Church of the Brethren in Eaton, and it was in May, I remember that,” he said. “Kay called me after that last time and explained everything.”

It was in the early ‘80s and Clark had made 52 whole blood donations. FDA guidance gave an exemption to apheresis donors, allowing them to give platelets without the standard eight-week deferral after a whole blood donation.

“At the time I started I was doing six to eight apheresis donations per year and six whole blood donations,” he said.

When the FDA removed the exemption, Clark made the decision to donate exclusively platelets and plasma so he could donate more often.

“They said, ‘You would be willing to do that?’ I said, ‘If I can help more people of course I’d be willing to do that.’”

His platelets were a match for special patients, including Melissa Stover and little Molly from Kettering who needed a bone marrow transplant.

“The donations really started snowballing,” he said. “I was doing 24 platelet donations a year and 12 plasma donations a lot of years.”

That snowball became an avalanche of goodwill.

“People all the time say, ‘You don’t have any blood left!’” said Clark. “I say, ‘Oh no, if you stick me, I’ll bleed.’”

Donors can make an appointment online at, call 937-461-3220, or use the Donor Time app.

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