Cancer patients use more blood than those fighting any other disease

“Give Blood to Give Time” partnership with the American Cancer Society launches 

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

February 10, 2020- In November 2019, North Canton resident Casey Richards was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma. Richards was 10 weeks pregnant when doctors discovered a mass that doubled in size over one week. She was immediately scheduled for surgery to remove it and a biopsy revealed the mass was cancerous. A few days later, Richards was admitted to University Hospital’s Seidman Cancer Centerto begin chemotherapy.

Winter Blood Need Sign

Richards went through four rounds of inpatient chemotherapy and received several blood and platelet products during her treatment.

“Receiving blood products helped with my extreme fatigue during treatment,” said Casey. “It also helped my levels go up faster, so I not only felt better, but it got me back into the hospital to start my next round of chemo and beat this disease faster.”

Blood Donation at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Megadrive 2017

Richards is now in remission and home with her husband Bobby, and their 2 1/2-year-old daughter Parker. She encourages everyone to donate blood to help patients like her.

“Giving blood helps not just the person receiving it, by helping with their disease, but it truly helps that person’s family and friends as well,” Casey said. “So many people benefit from such a generous donation.”

Bloodmobile Blood Drive Columbia, South Carolina 2018

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

American Red Cross Blood Donation Centers

Warzel Blood Donation Center

3747 Euclid Ave., Cleveland

Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

 

Parma Blood Donation Center

5585 Pearl Rd., Parma

Monday – Thursday: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Fridays and Saturdays: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

 

Summit Blood Donation Center

501 W. Market St., Akron

Sundays, Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Tuesdays: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Wednesdays and Thursdays: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Ashtabula County

Ashtabula

2/12/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Ashtabula Towne Square, 3315 N Ridge Rd E

2/26/2020: 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Elks Lake Lodge 208, 3115 Lake Rd W

Austinburg

2/10/2020: 2:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Austinburg Town Hall, 2794 State Route 307 E.

Conneaut

2/14/2020: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Conneaut Public Library, 304 Buffalo Street

2/20/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., New Leaf United Methodist Church, 110 Gateway Avenue

Pierpont

2/27/2020: 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., Williams-Ducro Funeral Home, 1071 State Route 7 North

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Cuyahoga County

Bay Village

2/25/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Cuyahoga County Library Bay Village Branch, 502 Cahoon Road

Beachwood

2/18/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Cleveland Clinic Administrative Campus, 25875 Science Park Drive, Building 1

2/21/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Beachwood Community Center, 25451 Fairmount Blvd

Berea

2/24/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Berea Recreation Center, 451 Front St

Brecksville

2/20/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Brecksville Community Center, One Community Drive

Broadview Heights

2/17/2020: 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Church of the Assumption, 9183 Broadview Rd

Brooklyn

2/20/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Health-Mor, 1 American Road, Suite 1250

Cleveland

2/12/2020: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., MetroHealth Medical Center, 2500 Metrohealth Drive

2/12/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., 1111 Superior, 1111 Superior

2/12/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Anthony J Celebrezze Federal Building, 1240 East 9th Street

2/13/2020: 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., James Ford Rhodes High School, 5100 Biddulph

2/13/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Anthony J Celebrezze Federal Building, 1240 East 9th Street

2/14/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Anthony J Celebrezze Federal Building, 1240 East 9th Street

2/18/2020: 6 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Dave McCall Union Hall, 3421 Independence Road

2/18/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Cleveland Clinic Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, 9500 Euclid Ave.

2/18/2020: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., 1100 Superior Building, 1100 Superior Avenue

2/18/2020: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Dave McCall Union Hall, 3421 Independence Road

2/18/2020: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., CWRU Thwing Hall Ballroom, 11111 Euclid Avenue

2/19/2020: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., CWRU Thwing Hall Ballroom, 11111 Euclid Avenue

2/21/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Cleveland Clinic Miller Tower, 9500 Euclid Avenue

2/22/2020: 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 2187 W 14th St

2/22/2020: 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Omega Psi Phi, 15435 St. Clair

2/24/2020: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Severance Hall, 11001 Euclid Ave.

2/25/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Cleveland State University Main Classroom, 2121 Euclid Avenue

2/25/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Lutheran Hospital, 1730 West 25th Street

2/26/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Cleveland State University Main Classroom, 2121 Euclid Avenue

2/29/2020: 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., University Circle United Methodist Church, University Circle United Methodist Church, 1919 East 107th

Cleveland Heights

2/12/2020: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Cleveland Hts Library, 2345 Lee Road

Euclid

2/23/2020: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Our Lady of the Lake Church, 19951 Lakeshore Blvd.

Fairview Park

2/26/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Bain Cabin, 21077 North Park Dr

Garfield Heights

2/25/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Marymount Hospital, 12300 McCracken Road

Independence

2/17/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Independence Community Center, 6363 Selig Drive

Lakewood

2/16/2020: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Lakewood United Methodist Church, 15700 Detroit Rd.

2/24/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Lakewood Women’s Club Pavilion, 14532 Lake Ave.

Mayfield Heights

2/11/2020: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Landerhaven, 6111 Landerhaven Drive

2/14/2020: 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., Hillcrest Hospital, 6780 Mayfield Road

Mayfield Village

2/17/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., The Mayfield Branch Library, 500 SOM Center

2/20/2020: 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Mayfield Village Civic Center, 6622 Wilson Mills Rd.

Middleburg Heights

2/28/2020: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Middleburg Hts Comm Center, 16000 Bagley Rd

North Olmsted

2/21/2020: 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Cuyahoga County Library North Olmsted Branch, 27403 Lorain Road

North Royalton

2/27/2020: 1:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Cuyahoga County Library North Royalton Branch, 5071 Wallings Rd

Rocky River

2/17/2020: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m., Rocky River Civic Center, 21016 Hilliard Rd.

2/23/2020: 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., St Christopher Catholic Church, 20141 Detroit Rd

Shaker Heights

2/16/2020: 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., St Dominic Church, 3455 Norwood Drive

Solon

2/19/2020: 1:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Church of the Resurrection, 32001 Cannon Road

South Euclid

2/13/2020: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Notre Dame College, 1857 S. Green Rd

Strongsville

2/13/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Cleveland Clinic Strongsville Family Health & Surgery Center, 16761 Southpark Center

2/21/2020: 10:15 a.m. – 3:15 p.m., Cuyahoga County Library Strongsville Branch, 18700 Westwood Dr

Westlake

2/13/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Rd.

2/20/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Westlake Recreation Center, 28955 Hilliard Rd.

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Erie County

Huron

2/27/2020: 12:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., Huron Public Library, 333 Williams St.

Sandusky

2/12/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Perkins Township Building, 2610 Columbus Ave

2/14/2020: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Firelands Regional Medical Center, 1912 Hayes Ave Sandusky

2/19/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Sandusky High School, 2130 Hayes Ave

2/20/2020: 1 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Holy Angels Catholic Church, 428 Tiffin Ave

2/28/2020: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Firelands Regional Medical Center, 1912 Hayes Ave Sandusky

Vermilion

2/13/2020: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Vermilion High School, 1250 Sanford St.

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Geauga County

Chagrin Falls

2/13/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Bainbridge Town Hall, 17826 Chillicothe Rd

Chardon

2/21/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Munson Town Hall, 12210 Auburn Rd.

Chesterland

2/26/2020: 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Mayfield Church, 7747 Mayfield Rd.

Middlefield

2/27/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Middlefield Library, 16167 East High

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Huron County

Bellevue

2/27/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., The Bellevue Hospital, 1400 W. Main St.

Collins

2/15/2020: 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., United Methodist Church, 4290 Hartland Center Rd

New London

2/13/2020: 12:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., Eagles, 29 West Fir Street

Norwalk

2/17/2020: 1:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 60 West Main St.

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Lake County

Eastlake

2/18/2020: 2:15 p.m. – 7:15 p.m., Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, 35980 Lakeshore Blvd.

Kirtland

2/20/2020: 1:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., Kirtland Community Center, 7900 Euclid-Chardon Rd.

Mentor

2/14/2020: 1 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Great Lakes Mall, 7850 Mentor Ave.

2/14/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Pilgrim Lutheran Brethren Church, 9514 Johnnycake Ridge Rd.

2/18/2020: 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., Bellflower Elementary – Paradigm Building, 6477 Center St.

2/24/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., St John Vianney Church, 7575 Bellflower Rd.

2/26/2020: 12 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Mentor Civic Arena, 8600 Munson Rd.

2/28/2020: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m., Pinegate Community Clubhouse, 6301 Gatewood Dr.

Painesville

2/16/2020: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Painesville United Methodist, 71 North Park Place

2/17/2020: 1 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Quail Hollow Country Club, 11295 Quail Hollow Drive

2/25/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Morley Library, 184 Phelps Street

2/28/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Lake County YMCA Central Branch, 933 Mentor Ave.

Wickliffe

2/26/2020: 12:30 p.m. – 5 p.m., Wickliffe Community Center, 900 Worden Road

2/27/2020: 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Wickliffe Public Library, 1713 Lincoln Rd.

Willoughby

2/28/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Willoughby Fire Dept, 37000 Euclid Ave.

Willoughby Hills

2/23/2020: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., St Noel Church, 35200 Chardon Rd.

2/28/2020: 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Cleveland Clinic Family Health Center Willoughby Hills, 2550 SOM Center Rd.

Willowick

2/23/2020: 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., St Mary Magdalene Church, 32114 Vine St

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Lorain County

Avon

2/25/2020: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Richard E. Jacobs Health Campus, 33100 Cleveland Clinic Blvd.

Columbia Station

2/22/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Paramount Dog Training, 27100 Royalton Road

Lorain

2/13/2020: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Horizon Science Academy, 760 Tower Blvd

North Ridgeville

2/20/2020: 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Kemper Science and Engineering, 37501 Center Ridge Road

Oberlin

2/12/2020: 2 p.m. – 8 p.m., Shanks Health and Wellness Center, 200 Woodland St.

Sheffield Village

2/12/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Ohio Business College, 5095 Waterford Dr

How to donate blood

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

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.

Red Cross_Critical Need.png

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.

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.

Student volunteers encourage blood donations

By Beth Bracale, American Red Cross communications volunteer

I’m a new teacher at Lakeside High School in Ashtabula, Ohio, and I discovered that some of my students volunteer at our American Red Cross blood drives. They’re held four times a year, the most recent being the last day of school before Thanksgiving break. Student volunteer Yuliana Padilla Rios pointed out that one unit of donated blood can potentially help three different people. That means all the students and staff who donated blood that Tuesday gave many families reason to give thanks!

I asked Iris Arrieta Ortiz, a senior at LHS, why she volunteers. She said it gives her the chance to help others help those in need. When she and her friends register donors at the event, they explain the process and let people know what to expect. They assure new donors there’s nothing to worry about. Everyone is well taken care of – and they even get snacks! The students encourage anyone at school who is 16 or older to donate.

Ainniz and Iris

Ainniz Millan Ithier, left, and Iris Arrieta Ortiz staff the registration table

This event was Ainniz Millan Ithier’s first time volunteering at a blood drive. She said she would definitely do so again. She and her fellow volunteers hope to inspire others to participate in the next event. Yuliana and Iris said being able to scan the new Ohio driver licenses made registration even easier. All agreed that the Red Cross team members who came to the school were great to work with, and it’s a plus to be able to do community service right at school.

Angelina Isco

Student volunteer Angelina Isco

If you would like to help blood donors at blood drives as a volunteer donor ambassador, visit our website by clicking here.

For information about holding a blood drive at your school or to find a donation event in your area, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross communications volunteer

Photo credit: Lakeside High School

On the wrong side of the hospital room – a nurse becomes the patient

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

Kristin Palocko  had been engaged for a year and was looking forward to her first wedding dress fitting in 2017. Working the night shift as a critical care nurse, she was often tired, but suddenly she was more fatigued than normal.

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“That night, a doctor came into my room at the emergency department and told me that I have a bleeding disorder called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP),” recalled Kristin.

With TTP, blood clots form in small blood vessels throughout the body. The clots can limit or prevent the oxygen-rich blood from reaching the various organs that need it.

The condition is extremely rare, affecting maybe only two people in a million. “We barely touched on it in nursing school…it’s that rare. Luckily, with so many great hospitals in our area, it’s no longer fatal.”

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Prior to the 1980s, the disease was 97 percent fatal. Now with early detection and with plasma exchange, it’s considered very treatable. Treatment can last days or even months.

“This started me on a roller coaster of a 12-day hospital stay, a central dialysis line in my neck, and multiple units of red blood cells and plasma.” Kristin received 330 units of plasma, taking four hours each for 10 of those 12 days.

“It was an eye-opening experience being on the receiving end of treatment and being on the other side of the monitors. As a nurse, I realize the value of each unit of blood. It’s like liquid gold for our patients.”

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With three months medical leave, routine doctor’s appointments, countless blood draws and continual prayers, Kristin’s condition is still stable today. TTP could come back at any time, but some people have gone 17 years without a relapse.

“Less than six months after diagnosis, I married my best friend, Brad. Ever since I’ve been diagnosed, he’s been a frequent blood donor.”

“Two years later, I am feeling blessed for everyone’s thoughts and prayers through it all—especially the blood donors. They have helped me, and numerous others, in our time of greatest need with their generous donations. Without those willing to give of their time (and blood) there would not be treatment for TTP.”

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Kristin goes to Cuyahoga Valley Church and recently saw the sign there that volunteers were needed for an upcoming American Red Cross blood drive.

“After all that plasma I used during my treatment, I felt guilty, and I realized I needed to do something to give back. So, between shifts I went to the church during the blood drive and I volunteered.”

If you’d like to volunteer at a blood drive, we would love to have you. Volunteers are invaluable to the daily operation of the Northeast Ohio Region of the American Red Cross and are truly the heart and soul of the organization. Click here to register as a volunteer or sign up here to become a donor.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer