Feeling good about giving blood again

“Time-out” ends for dedicated blood donor

By Eilene Guy, American Red Cross volunteer correspondent

January 27, 2020 – It feels so good to be lying on a portable couch again, a needle stuck in my arm, donating blood to the American Red Cross.

It’s been almost two years since I was allowed give this lifesaving gift and it feels really, really good.

Fun – if sobering – facts:

  • There is NO man-made substitute for human blood for accident and burn victims, surgery and organ transplant patients, and those being treated for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.
  • Every day, the Red Cross needs about 13,000 blood donations to meet the needs of patients at some 2,500 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.
  • Only about 3 percent of the American population donates blood.
  • Every year, too many blood donors “disappear.” Some die (the World War II and Korean War generations were especially faithful blood donors); some start taking medications that shouldn’t be transmitted to a blood recipient; others drift away for personal reasons.

And some get “furloughed,” like I did.

Eilene gives again

Eilene Guy giving blood again.  Photo credit: Don Guy for the American Red Cross

I’d been showing up at Red Cross blood drives pretty regularly for more than 15 years. I’m O positive, so my blood’s widely useful and I have “good veins,” so the phlebotomists love me.

But in March 2018 I took a family vacation to the Dominican Republic. The next time I showed up to give blood, I learned I was sidelined for one year, because the DR is a malaria risk zone. Nuts!

Then, in December 2018, I went to India. Even though I took anti-malaria medications, the one-year disqualification clock started again.

Like so many of the Red Cross blood collection protocols, this is mandated by the federal Food and Drug Administration, to protect the millions of people who receive blood.

This month I was finally cleared to donate again. And as I said, it felt really good.

In fact, donating felt even better than it did two years ago. The disinfectant they swab on the arm isn’t iodine anymore, so the “sting” of the needle is gone. Woo hoo!

“If every blood donor who has been temporarily deferred would come back at the end of their ‘time out,’ it would really help the blood supply,” said Christy Peters, regional biomedical communications manager. “Those folks have already shown that they’re generous with the gift of life. We want to welcome them back as soon as we can.”

The need for blood is constant. Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. And this is National Blood Donor Month.

Next month, on February 11th, the largest blood drive of the year in Northeast Ohio takes place at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights.  Visit RedCrossBlood.org and use the promo code “Landerhaven” to make an appointment to donate there.  You can also find the date, time and location of your nearest Red Cross blood drive there.  Or can call 1-800-REDCROSS, or text BLOODAPP to 90999 or search “Red Cross Blood” on the App Store or Google Play to get the free Blood Donor App.

 

 

Red Cross Summer Youth Corps offers enriching opportunities for those from 13 to 24 years of age

By Tim Poe, American Red Cross volunteer

January 17, 2020- While 2020 has just begun, it’s a good time for young people to consider summer volunteer opportunities. The American Red Cross is proud to offer its Summer Youth Corps program, a meaningful, rewarding experience for those 13-24 years of age to help save lives and assist their communities. Participants also gain valuable training, work experience, skill development, and networking opportunities to help them prepare for their futures.

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Those taking part in the Summer Youth Corps will serve as Red Cross Blood Drive Ambassadors. After training and orientation, they will be able to volunteer at blood drives being held throughout Northern Ohio between May 1 and August 31. The requirement is 10 shifts. Participants provide their own transportation to and from the drive, and a Parental Consent Form is needed for those 17 and under.

Superstorm Sandy 2012

Red Cross Blood Drive Ambassadors have a range of customer service and other responsibilities. These include:

  • Engaging with blood donors, creating a favorable impression of the Red Cross, and helping develop a long-term commitment to regular blood donations.
  • Making reminder calls, rescheduling donor appointments, and performing follow up activities.
  • Welcoming and greeting donors, escorting as necessary, and assisting with initial intake and hand offs through the blood donation process.
  • Ensuring blood donors have relevant information and that questions are answered appropriately.
  • Attending to donors in the Hospitality Area, ensuring each is recognized for his or her contribution.
  • Displaying the utmost professionalism and communication skills.
  • Learning and sharing the Red Cross story, including the mission, vision, and values.

Oroville Dam Spillway Compromised 2017

Volunteering as a Blood Drive Ambassador offers a number of benefits. A few of these include:

  • A letter of reference, which can greatly assist with future plans, including college and job applications.
  • Documented community service hours.
  • The opportunity to work directly with medical staff.
  • The ability to build customer service skills, especially with the provided training.
  • Valuable work experience to help prepare for the future.
  • Networking and meeting new people.
  • The feeling of helping save lives and contributing to your community.

Sound the Alarm Fulton

Volunteering with the Red Cross in any capacity is a deeply rewarding experience. The Summer Youth Corps offers enriching opportunities and the ability to help people and communities. If you or your children would like more information or to apply for the program, please go to redcrossblood.org or contact Gail Wernick at gail.wernick@redcross.org or 216-431-3328.

Alert: Critical need for blood and platelet donors

By Christy Peters, External Communications Manager, Northern Ohio Biomedical Services

January 15, 2019- The American Red Cross is asking the public to kick off 2020 by doing something big: Give blood or platelets now to address the critical need for blood donors of all blood types – especially type O – and platelet donors.

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A shortfall in donations can cause delays in care

The family of 12-year-old Dagan Hawkins, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in November, knows this all too well. “While at the hospital, Dagan needed platelet and blood transfusions,” said Dustin Hawkins, Dagan’s father. “There was a time when platelets had to be delivered from another location because they were not available.”

Recipient_Dagan

Dagan Hawkins

You can help restock the shelves

  1. Make an appointment to give blood or platelets by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
  2. Let your friends and family know there is a critical need for blood and platelet donors and ask them to #GiveNow.
  3. Bring someone to donate with you.

Your support can help ensure blood products are there for patients going through cancer treatments, trauma victims, premature babies and others who depend on transfusions for survival.

Be a champion for patients in need

Super Bowl Giveaway (1)

To help tackle the current critical need for blood and platelets, the Red Cross has teamed up with the NFL to offer one lucky winner the chance to experience the Super Bowl live in Miami. Those who come to give by Jan. 19, 2020, will automatically be entered for a chance to win an exciting Super Bowl LIV getaway for two. The Super Bowl LIV getaway package includes two tickets to Super Bowl LIV, entry to the official NFL Tailgate, two tickets to Super Bowl Experience at the Miami Beach Convention Center, round-trip airfare to Miami and three-night hotel accommodations (Jan. 31-Feb. 3, 2020), and a $500 gift card for expenses. Terms apply; visit RedCrossBlood.org/SuperBowl for more information.

Don’t wait to help. Make your game plan to give now and help save lives.

If you are unable to give now, but will be eligible by February 11, sign up to donate during the annual Landerhaven blood drive on February 11, 2020. Enjoy gourmet food, live music and receive a free t-shirt, as you spread the love to someone in need.

Enjoy the open road as you help save lives

By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

January 10, 2020- Do you enjoy the freedom of driving on the open road? Are you always volunteering to drive around family and friends? Are you looking for an opportunity to help save lives, while enjoying your love of driving? Well, you are in luck!

Volunteer Couriers

The American Red Cross is currently looking for passionate drivers to serve as volunteer transportation specialists in Cuyahoga County. This unique opportunity allows volunteers to support blood pick-up at both mobile and fixed site blood drives in Cuyahoga County.

The Red Cross collects and distributes about 40% of our nation’s blood supply. As a volunteer transportation specialist, when you pick up blood, platelets or other blood products from a blood collection site or deliver them to a hospital, you’re delivering lifesaving hope to a person in need.

Volunteer Couriers

Still not sure if this is quite the right fit? Listen to Peter Hoffman, one of the transportation specialists in Cuyahoga County. Hear why Peter volunteers with the Red Cross, some of his tasks and the feeling he gets from helping others in need.

For more information and to apply to become a volunteer transportation specialist, visit redcross.org/volunteer or call 216-431-3328.

 

New blood transportation vehicle provides volunteers opportunity to help save lives

By Eilene Guy, American Red Cross volunteer

December 18, 2019- Picture yourself at the wheel of a custom vehicle, tooling down the road to the admiring glances of your fellow motorists.

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If you’re a Cuyahoga County resident with a compassionate heart and a good driving record, the American Red Cross is eager to put you behind the wheel of a sparkling white van with the distinctive red cross boldly on each side.

Volunteers are needed to drive specially equipped transport vans from blood collection sites around Northeast Ohio to the Red Cross blood processing center in Cleveland. There, blood is tested and prepared for accident victims; moms and newborns in difficult deliveries; surgery patients; and men, women and children who rely on transfusions for a healthy life.

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On average, the Red Cross Northern Ohio blood services region collects 500 pints of blood daily across 19 counties, from Erie County on the west to the Pennsylvania border on the east and Tuscarawas County on the south.

Meanwhile, life-sustaining whole blood and its components – platelets, plasma, white cells and red cells – go out constantly to patients in 50 local hospitals. Red blood cells must be used within 42 days and platelets within five days, so prompt, reliable transportation is key.

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The American Red Cross recently added a new van to its blood transportation fleet, thanks to the generosity of the Erie County Community Foundation, the Sidney Frohman Foundation, the Randolph J. and Estelle M. Dorn Foundation and the Wightman-Wieber Charitable Foundation. Photo credit: Cali Griggs/American Red Cross volunteer

“This volunteer opportunity is a vital link between generous blood donors and those whose lives depend on that blood,” said Melanie Collins, who helps recruit volunteers for the Red Cross throughout northeast Ohio.

The biomedical activity of the Red Cross is at the very heart of the organization’s mission, “to prevent and alleviate human suffering … by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors,” she noted.

Volunteer Couriers

For more information and to apply for a transportation specialist position, visit www.redcrossorg/volunteer.  To view more photos of the ribbon cutting and blood drive at the Erie County Community Foundation offices in Sandusky, visit our photo album here. Photo credit: Cali Griggs/American Red Cross volunteer.

 

 

Give something that truly means something this holiday season- Give blood!

By Christy Peters, External Communications Manager, Northern Ohio Biomedical Services

December 16, 2019- The American Red Cross urgently needs donors of all blood types to donate blood or platelets and be the lifeline patients need this holiday season.

Monroe Carell Jr Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tennessee 2019

The need for blood doesn’t take a holiday.

This holiday season there are thousands of patients who will be in the hospital instead of enjoying holiday parties, finishing their shopping or preparing for family gatherings. They’re counting on blood and platelet donors for their treatments.

Blood bank Campaign ceremony 2017

But a decline in donations occurs from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day when donors are busy with holiday activities and travel. Donors of all blood types, especially platelet donors and those with type O blood, are urgently needed to ensure a sufficient supply for patients.

Blood Donation in Murray, Utah 2014

Join the Red Cross at one of several holiday blood drives happening in northeast Ohio and help save lives this holiday season:

Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019

Cuyahoga Falls Holiday Blood Drive

Sheraton Suites Akron/Cuyahoga Falls

1989 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls, 44221

7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Blood Drive

The Atrium

1 Center Court, Cleveland, 44115

8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 20, 2019

Mahoning Valley Holiday Blood Drive

Stambaugh Auditorium, 1000 5th Ave., Youngstown

Packard Music Hall, 1703 Mahoning Ave., Warren

9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 23, 2019

Hilton Garden Inn Twinsburg Holiday Blood Drive

8971 Wilcox Dr., Twinsburg, 44087

7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020

Landerhaven Blood Drive

Executive Caterers at Landerhaven

6111 Landerhaven Dr., Mayfield Heights, 44124

7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Bloodmobile Blood Drive Columbia, South Carolina 2018

During the season of giving, please make time to give the gift of life. Appointments can be made by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

Be the lifeline for patients in need this holiday season – Give Blood!

Community urged to help patients in need across northeast Ohio

By Christy Peters, External Communications Manager, Northern Ohio Biomedical Services

November 25, 2019- The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to be the lifeline for patients in need this holiday season by making an appointment to give blood or platelets. While helping to save lives is likely motivation enough, those who come out to give Nov. 18-Dec. 18 will also receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Suburban Propane.

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As schedules fill with holiday parties, shopping and fun with friends and family, many blood and platelet donors delay giving. Unfortunately, that may lead to delays in treatments for patients relying on blood. Right now, there is a critical need for type O blood donors.

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Join the Red Cross and Cleveland Clinic for a special Black Friday blood drive Friday, Nov. 29 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Emerald Event Center. The center is located at the Residence Inn by Marriott, 33040 Just Imagine Drive in Avon. All who come to donate will also receive a Red Cross long-sleeved T-shirt, while supplies last and enjoy a catered meal.

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Your blood donation may give a patient in need more time – and more holidays – with loved ones. To make an appointment or for more information download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.