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Fire chief is living proof of the value of donating blood
Wise a survivor
Ceres Fire Chief Kevin Wise is living proof that blood donor save lives. He battled cancer for years and is only alive because others gave their own blood for him. - photo by Jeff Benziger

Ceres Fire Chief Kevin Wise is living proof of the value of blood and platelet donations.

Years before he became chief, Wise battled two forms of cancer and is only alive today because people cared enough to give their own blood for others.

“I’ve probably had over 100 blood transfusions, both blood and platelets,” said Wise. “I’m a big fan of people donating.”

Wise is actively promoting an upcoming blood donation event in Ceres. The annual “Battle of the Badges” blood drive involving the Ceres Police Department and Fire Department will take place on Monday, Aug. 26. This year the two agencies will be battling the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s and Probation departments in their quest to see which team generates the most blood donors.

In the past several years past the contest pitted Ceres Police versus Ceres Fire with a trophy going to the winning team. Wise admits the Sheriff’s Department has the upper hand because of its sheer employee numbers but in the scheme of things, the important thing is getting as much blood donated as possible.

“It’s people helping people, often people you don’t know just because they want to help.”
Ceres Fire Chief Kevin Wise

“It’s people helping people, often people you don’t know just because they want to help.”

The public can help by choosing sides and donating blood between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Ceres Community Center, 2701 Fourth Street.  To sign up visit and type in sponsor code police; or to save time fill out a Rapidpass at

Donors will be entered into a raffle for four tickets to Great America. Raffle prizes will add to the excitement.

In 2011 Wise was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

“Honestly I didn’t even know what it was. I was 39 years old at the time and arguably the best shape of my life and felt indestructible.”

Wise under a bone marrow transplant at Stanford Medical Center in 2012 and he said it only knocked down the cancer. He undertook chemotherapy treatments for next three years.

“It was manageable. I just dealt with the effects of the chemo which weren’t really that bad.”

In September 2015 Wise noticed that he was growing easily fatigued. Doctors found out that he had developed Acute Myeloid Leukemia, or AML. Blood transfusions saved his life since his bone marrow wasn’t making healthy blood cells.

“I’m walking around with a little piece of everybody in me,” joked Wise.

At times he felt that there was a good chance he wasn’t going to survive.

In addition to donating blood and platelets, Wise is definitely a believer in people signing up become bone marrow donors. His life was saved by a 28-year-olod stranger who wanted to remain anonymous. Ironically his 2016 donor transplant changed Wise’s blood type to that of the donor. 

“The crazy thing that happened was by having that second transplant they no longer can find the multiple myeloma whereas before it was always there.”

While the Ceres event is only collecting blood donations, Wise encourages people to consider signing up for the bone marrow registry. Typically a kit is sent to the donor to collect DNA information.

“The big fear that people have is that it use to be an invasive procedure. Now they just take it from your blood stream.”