Donors give from the heart at 21st annual blood drive

Valentine’s week tradition held once again at Landerhaven

By Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

IMG_0801Love was in the air and flowing freely on Tuesday at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven. Not because it was two days before Valentine’s Day. It was thanks to the generous residents of Northeast Ohio who donated 495 pints of blood during the Give from the Heart blood drive in Mayfield Heights.

The sentiment “give more love, give more life” aptly sums up the event and the donors’ acts of kindness. Their gift of blood will help save lives—and is especially timely during the current blood emergency.

The American Red Cross’ 21st annual Give from the Heart blood drive, sponsored this year by Executive Caterers, Cleveland Clinic and Lake Health, has been a tradition in Northeast Ohio for more than 20 years, collecting nearly 13,500 pints for local patients.

The premier event destination, which hosts elegant weddings and corporate affairs was bustling with a sea of red shirts worn by Red Cross Blood Services technicians assisting donors. WINT Radio 1130 AM and 101.5 FM fueled the energy of the event by playing music and engaging donors in trivia games.

Donors received buy-one-get-one ticket offers to Cleveland Cavaliers basketball games. They were also treated to gourmet food and free gifts.

“We are so grateful to our donors,” said Christy Peters, external communications manager of the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio’s Blood Services division. “Their donations at the Give from the Heart blood drive will impact so many local patients and help us overcome the current blood emergency.”

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Regional CEO Mike Parks and Collections Specialist Tony Parrish-Figueroa

Mike Parks, CEO of the Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region, Nick McCauley, Greater Cleveland Chapter board member, and a number of the Red Cross Young Professionals Council shared in the giving spirit by donating blood alongside area residents.

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Greater Cleveland Chapter Board member Nick McCauley

 

 

 

Janice Tanori, a 78-year-old from Cleveland Heights, was among the donors. As a teenager, she tried to donate blood but couldn’t when she found out she was anemic. Years later, as an adult working at Gould Ocean Systems in Cleveland, she volunteered to donate at a company-sponsored blood drive, fully expecting to be turned away but hoping to spend some time away from work. Instead, she learned she was eligible.

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Janice Tanori

“It doesn’t pay to try to get out of work,” she said. “But once I was able to donate, I began to give regularly and have ever since.” That was more than 30 years ago. Janice now donates blood twice each year.

The Give from the Heart blood drive is a unique special event and was successful in helping to restore the lifesaving blood supply.

There are many scheduled blood drives aimed at helping the blood supply recover from a donation shortfall over the winter holidays that prompted the Red Cross to issue an emergency call for blood and platelet donors.

Donors of all blood types, especially platelet donors and type O blood donors, are needed to prevent the blood shortage from continuing throughout winter and impacting patient care.

So what is a blood emergency and why is donating blood so important? Here are some facts:

  • Right now, the Red Cross has less than a three-day supply of most blood types, and blood products are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in. The goal is to keep a five-day supply on hand at all times to meet the needs of patients and be prepared for emergencies that require significant volumes of donated blood products.
  • Snow storms and frigid weather in parts of the country have prolonged the shortfall in donations. Since the beginning of the year, more than 16,000 blood and platelet donations went uncollected due to blood drive cancellations.
  • With more winter weather possible in February, additional blood drive cancellations could further strain the blood supply.
  • The recent federal government shutdown also affected donations as more than 4 percent of Red Cross blood collections come from drives sponsored by military and local, state and federal government agencies. About 30 blood drives were canceled across the country due to the government shutdown, resulting in more than 900 uncollected donations.
  • Blood products are perishable, and the only source of lifesaving blood for patients is volunteer blood donors. Therefore, any disruptions to donations–from declines due to holiday travel to severe weather and even widespread flu–can lead to an emergency need and cause delays in essential medical care.

You can help. To find a blood drive near you and make an appointment, visit our website or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

 

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