Eligible Blood Donors Needed to Help Save Lives this Summer

We are facing a critical blood shortage and have issued an emergency call for eligible blood and platelet donors of all blood types to give now and help save lives.

Blood donations have fallen short of expectations for the past two months, resulting in about 61,000 fewer donations than needed and causing a significant draw down of the Red Cross blood supply. The shortfall is the equivalent of the Red Cross not collecting any blood donations for more than four days.

It’s crucial that people donate now to meet the needs of patients every day and to be prepared for emergencies that require significant volumes of donated blood. Every day, blood and platelet donors can help save lives, and right now these heroes are needed to give as soon as possible.

How to Help

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). The Red Cross has added more than 25,000 additional appointment slots at donation centers and community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors. Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.

Summer Months Lead to Shortage

Blood shortages often worsen around Independence Day due to many fewer volunteer-hosted blood drives at places of work, worship or community gathering, and this year is no exception. Nearly 700 fewer blood drives are scheduled during the Independence Day week than the weeks before and after the holiday.

Overall, the summer months are among the most challenging times of the year for blood and platelet donations as regular donors delay giving while they vacation and participate in summer activities. In a recent survey of Red Cross blood donors, more than 73 percent indicated vacation plans this summer, many of them occurring the weeks before and after Independence Day.

New donors and those who haven’t given in a while are especially encouraged to roll up a sleeve and help save lives. Nearly one-third fewer new blood donors came out to give last summer than during the rest of the year due in part to schools – where blood drives are held and where new donors give – being out of session during the summer months.

Every two seconds in the United States blood and platelets are needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant procedures, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. The Red Cross must collect nearly 14,000 blood donations every day for patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals across the country.

Don’t Be “One of Those” Blood Donors

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross Volunteer

I just celebrated my 20th anniversary – 20 years since my first blood donation back on January 21, 1997.  I’ve learned a lot since then, and much of it concerns things I did wrong.  Profit from my mistakes, all made in a relatively short amount of time.

  • While walk-ins are gratefully accommodated, you’re liable to have to wait for an open donation time slot if you haven’t made an appointment. Appointments can easily be made online or with the Red Cross Blood app for your phone.

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  • When you are leaving home or office and heading to the donation site, be sure to have your blood donor card or the blood app on your phone. A driver’s license or two other forms of ID could suffice, but without ID, you won’t be allowed to donate. Have your ID ready as you approach the registration table.
  • Drink PLENTY of water and have something nourishing (not fatty) to eat before you donate; BUT, not immediately before you come in. Eating or chewing gum immediately before taking your temperature can cause an incorrect reading and could disqualify or delay you. I recently had a chocolate chip cookie right before donating and it raised my temperature to 99.9 degrees. I then had to wait fifteen minutes while it returned to 98.6. It’s best to have something to eat one-half to one hour before you donate. Also, avoid caffeinated coffee and tea before your appointment.
  • Just like we exercise to keep our bodies in shape, you can pump up your blood’s iron levels by eating an iron-rich diet before donating. A low iron level could keep you from donating.
  • Get a good night’s sleep the night before your donation. Your body rejuvenates your cells while you sleep.
  • Don’t rush. Rushing to get to the donation center can cause stress, which can elevate your blood pressure. Avoid stressful activities.  Breathe, and give yourself time to leisurely get to the donation center. Even if you are a couple minutes late, you’ll be welcomed with open arms.
  • If you’ve got cold or flu symptoms (other than allergies), call (1-800-RED-CROSS) and discuss rescheduling your appointment. You’ll potentially save the trip, and your appointment time can be assigned to someone who walked in without an appointment.
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Red Cross Communications Volunteer and long-time blood donor Doug Bardwell

  • Lastly, wear loose clothing with sleeves that can easily be rolled up above the elbow.

Congratulations, you just made sure your donation was a success. But, one last suggestion, don’t try to leave too quickly afterwards.  There are snacks and drinks at that refreshment table in the corner. Pay it a visit. Take some of the time you saved and treat yourself to a snack. It will provide your body with some needed nourishment and you’ll leave feeling better for it.

Don’t forget, the clock is ticking, and you’ll be eligible to donate again before you know it.  Make that appointment today and have another great experience.

Blood Drive Brings Donors to Landerhaven

The 19th annual Give From the Heart Blood Drive held Tuesday, February 7 at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven was a great success. This drive is one of the largest in the Region and comes at an important time, as the Red Cross is facing a winter blood shortage.

Despite periods of heavy rain and patches of dense fog, more than 570 donors came to give and the blood drive collected 536 pints of blood.

Each pint has the potential to help save three lives.

Our partners at WTAM 1100AM were on-site for live news reports and interviews about the event and the station promoted the drive throughout the day. Cleveland 19 TV also came to the drive to shoot video and ran stories during their newscasts, encouraging donations.landerhaven-3

All presenting donors received a goody bag filled with gifts from sponsors, a $5 Amazon gift card claim code and enjoyed gourmet food courtesy of Executive Caterers.

If you weren’t able to donate at Landerhaven, You can schedule an appointment at the location most convenient to you on the Red Cross Blood App, or by logging onto redcrossblood.org, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

Be sure to watch for the 20th annual Give from the Heart Blood Drive at Landerhaven next year!

Give From the Heart Blood Drive at Landerhaven

The timing couldn’t be better.

The 19th annual American Red Cross Give from the Heart Blood Drive takes place on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at Landerhaven.  It is the largest one day blood drive in Ohio, and it comes at a time when an urgent appeal for blood has been issued due to a severe winter blood shortage.

Call 1-800 RED CROSS to schedule your appointment, or log onto redcrossblood.org and use the sponsor code  Landerhaven, or click here to make an appointment.   You can also download the Red Cross Blood App to make your appointment. All donors will receive free gifts from the many sponsors participating, and can enjoy live entertainment and gourmet food offered by Executive Caterers.

Photos from the Give from the Heart Blood Drive at Landerhaven in 2016.
Photo credit: Mary Williams/American Red Cross

Landerhaven is located at 6111 Landerhaven Drive, Mayfield Heights, OH, 44124.

Annual Holiday Blood Drive a Success

Almost 600 people came to donate yesterday at the Sheraton Suites Akron/Cuyahoga Falls blood drive and the Red Cross collected 560 pints of blood. Yesterday’s event will help ensure patients have the blood they need throughout the holiday season. We encourage donors who weren’t able to come and give at the Sheraton  to find a drive near them in coming weeks and help the Red Cross during a time of critical need.

At 80, She’s Still Going Strong

Passionate About Donating Blood, Running 

By Paul Wadowick, American Red Cross Volunteer

Eighty years young, Jean Toth lives a life bigger than you would imagine.  At first, you meet a petite lady who, like others, arrives with desire to help others with a donation of blood.  Then she mentions that she’s eighty years old.  Your interest is piqued.  Now, you are ready to hear more of Jean’s story.

Jean raised her children like we all would.  When she arrived in her forty second year of life, Jean was ready for other challenges.  “That’s when I started training for the marathon and donating blood,” she said.  That would be thirty-eight years, ago.  Jean shared, “I didn’t donate before a marathon.”  When asked how many times she’s donated, Jean replied, “I don’t know how many I’ve done.”  This calculates to a probable minimum of 152 units or 19 gallons to a high of 228 times or 28.5 gallons between then and now.  Along with the training runs, Jean qualified at a Columbus, Ohio marathon and did run the Boston Marathon in 1982 and 1985.  Jean stated, “I still run eight to ten miles about three times a week.  Does she still run the marathons? “No, not anymore,” Jean clarifies.  “I started running half marathons this year.  There are others who are there at the end, so I’m not alone.”  She added, “I can donate blood more often, now.”

When Jean volunteered that she takes vitamins, diet was the next question.  “I eat lots of salad, vegetables, rice, pasta, and some meat.”  Further inquiry discovers that her five children gave her eight grandchildren who in turn made her a great grandmother twelve times. And there is one great, great, grandchild.  Other achievements also came to light.  Jean has earned twelve trophies, contested in light weight body building four or five years, and is in the Wickliffe Hall of Fame for Sports.

With all said and done, maybe we can say that Jean C. Toth is truly Eighty-Years-Strong.

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Jean C. Toth at the LaMalfa Blood Drive, October 27, 2016  Photo credit: Paul Wadowick/American Red Cross Volunteer

 

 

Red Cross World Series Challenge: We’re Out for Blood

We, Team Red Cross in Northeast Ohio, formally challenge the Red Cross of Chicago & Northern IL and Cubs Fans everywhere to donate blood and help save more lives than us.

Using the Red Cross Blood Donor app, Indians fans can join the Cleveland Indians blood donor team by downloading the app, logging in, navigating to “My Teams,” and joining the team with the script Indians logo. Cubs fans can join the Chicago Cubs team on the app. At the end of the World Series, the team with the most donated blood, and thus lives saved, gets ALL the bragging rights as the “Donor Champs.

To sweeten the deal, if the Cubs win, our region’s CEO, Mike Parks, will travel to Chicago to help install 100 smoke alarms. But, if the TRIBE wins, we challenge their CEO, Celena Roldán, to come to Cleveland and install 100 smoke alarms.

The added benefit to this challenge? By downloading the Blood Donor App you will have all of your donor information handily available, including your donor card. You can also see where your blood travels and your donation history.

So, Indian’s fans! Let’s go help save some lives!!