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Wish to help runs through the family

If you were a pollster looking around for three typical guys in their 20s, meeting Joseph, William and Vincent Davis would probably be the high point of your week.

The three Hudson brothers get along well although, despite being neighbors, they don't see a lot of each other.

In addition to being brothers, they have two things in common: a strong sense of willingness to help others, and the patience to go through plateletpherisis, a process that takes up to two hours every month.

Plateletpherisis is a method through which platelets, the blood cells that help stop bleeding, are gathered at blood donation centers.

The Davis brothers donate at the Hunter Blood Center in Hudson where I had been invited to be one of the first donors by recruiter Jay Faggion, who was lashed to a chair and beaten with clear plastic tubing when the staff there reminded her that the kits used to collect the platelets cost $200 and can only be used for one try at a vein.

Because my nickname during my blood donating days was Veins-From-Hell and employees there could sometimes be found hiding under the furniture when I approached, we had to decide on another way for me to write about what goes on there.

But a hundred or so other West Pasco residents answered the call, and Joseph Davis, 25, was among them.

Joseph had become a regular blood donor while in the U.S. Army. His brothers got the habit while in the Pasco County school system. Joseph happened to walk into the center one day when a scheduled platelet donor had canceled.

"She (Faggion) grabbed me and sat me down in a chair, and I spent the next 1{ hours there," he said. Before long, Joseph (all three brothers are sensitive about the uses of nicknames) had his brothers involved.

"I've always enjoyed helping people," said William, 24, "that's why I started donating blood in the first place. This is just another way to do it."

Vincent, a Kmart employee who started donating while still in his early teens, said the same. "It's not that much different than donating blood. It just takes a little longer."

The process, which removes platelets from the blood and then returns blood to the body, can be done every four weeks instead of every eight like regular blood donation, and gathers as many platelets as used to be harvested from four pints of whole blood.

Because of that, donors get credit for two pints every time they go through the process, but that's not why they do it.

None of the brothers is wealthy. William is between jobs, and Joseph helps a friend with his paper route, "but this is something we can do for other people," Joseph said.

And all three say the atmosphere at the blood center helps keep them coming back.

"The people there are really grateful and make you know they appreciate you coming," William said. Joseph said he has received both birthday and Christmas cards from the team that handles his donations.

For those of you who may have missed earlier columns on the subject, Wife had surgery in 1989 that required 101 units of blood _ including several of platelets _ and I became even more interested than I had in the quality and amount of the donated blood supply.

That interest and the same friendly attitude at Hunter kept me donating until 10 months ago when a pre-donation blood test led indirectly to a timely diagnosis of a cancer that I now expect to survive.

Because of that condition, I can't donate blood for at least another five years, but I like knowing people like the Davis brothers who do it . . . and who do it for the right reasons.