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.

bloodapp

  • 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.
dougdonating

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!

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.

New Red Cross app puts power to help save lives in hands of blood donors

The Red Cross is launching a first-of-its kind Blood Donor App that puts the power to save lives in the palm of your hand.

The app makes it easier, faster and more convenient for users to schedule and manage their donation appointments, track the lifetime impact of their donations, and recruit friends and family to roll up a sleeve with them.

As the nation’s single largest supplier of blood and blood products, the Red Cross is uniquely positioned to bring this cutting edge technology to blood and platelet donors. In addition to scheduling and managing blood donation appointments, other features of the app include:
• A blood drive or blood donation locator;
• The ability to sync a blood donation appointment with the user’s calendar;
• Donors can share personalized #selfies about their donation experience through social media;
• Unlock special badges through interaction with the app, make donations and spread the word;
• A chance for donors to come together to form teams, tracking their cumulative impact and viewing standings on the Blood Donor Teams Leaderboard;
• Exclusive offers and discounts from some of America’s best brands, including Shari’s Berries, ProFlowers and 1A Auto, with new rewards added regularly; and
• Uplifting donor and blood recipient stories that show the power of rolling up a sleeve to help save lives.

The Blood Donor App, along with the Red Cross suite of preparedness apps, can be found in app stores by searching for American Red Cross. You can also visit redcross.org/apps or redcrossblood.org/bloodapp, or text* BLOODAPP to 90999 for a direct link to download.

Eligible blood donors do not need a smartphone to schedule an appointment to give blood. Appointments can always be made by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or by visiting redcrossblood.org.

How to donate blood
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 (16 with parental consent in some states), 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.

* Message and data rates for texting may apply.