New Facebook and Alexa features help boost blood donations

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

October 23, 2019- The American Red Cross has partnered with some of the country’s leading technology brands to make donating blood even easier. Now, blood donors can find blood drives and schedule appointments using Facebook and Alexa devices.

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

In June, the Red Cross, along with other blood collection organizations, partnered with Facebook to help raise awareness about the critical need for blood donors. Facebook’s new Blood Donations feature makes it easier to find opportunities to donate – allowing users to sign up to be blood donors, receive notifications about nearby blood drives and invite friends to help save lives too. Since launching, more than one million people in the U.S. have signed up and it has helped to schedule over 600 Red Cross blood donation appointments.

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

To make it easier for people to access services and get critical safety information, the Red Cross is also partnering with Alexa, Amazon’s voice service. The Red Cross Blood scheduling skill for Amazon Alexa helps users schedule a blood donation appointment, find blood drives nearby and get notification reminders before an appointment. Users can enable this skill and link their Red Cross account to manage appointments. Donors can open the Red Cross Blood skill with a selection of prompts such as, “Alexa, open Red Cross Blood skill,” and ask, for example, “Alexa, find a blood drive.”

Bloodmobile Blood Drive Columbia, South Carolina 2018

Individuals interested in signing up to become a blood donor on Facebook can visit facebook.com/donateblood. The Red Cross Blood skill for Alexa is available on any Alexa-enabled device such as Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show or Echo Spot. The skills can be enabled in the Alexa Skills Store through the Alexa app or at Amazon.com.

Blood Drive New York 2018

The Northern Ohio Blood Services Region of the Red Cross serves 19 counties in northern Ohio and needs to collect approximately 500 pints of blood every day to meet the needs of patients at more than 50 local hospitals. Without the generous giving of volunteer blood donors, that need cannot be met.

Resolve to save a life

By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio. Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer. 

2019 is already a week old and your New Year’s resolution may not be going as planned. Instead of feeling bad about another missed opportunity, the American Red Cross has a resolution that is not only easy to keep but will make you feel equally good: Resolve to save a life.

Blood Drive, Fairfax, Virginia 2018January is National Blood Donor Month. If you have never given blood before or it has been a while, it is the perfect time to become a blood donor.

In the United States, there is someone who needs blood every two seconds. Unfortunately, of the 38 percent of the population who is eligible to donate, less than 10 percent actually donate.

To make it easier to donate blood this month, the Red Cross is hosting over 350 blood drives across Northeast Ohio from today until the end of January, ensuring there is a blood drive close to you. To find a scheduled blood drive, visit RedCrossBlood.org to search by zip code and prepare for your donation.

If you cannot attend any of the scheduled blood drives, the Red Cross has several donation centers in Northeast Ohio. For those in the Greater Cleveland area interested in giving blood and donating platelets, the Red Cross has blood donation centers in Cleveland and Parma.

The Warzel Blood Donation Center is located at the Regional Headquarters on 3747 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland and is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday.Blood Drive, Fairfax, Virginia 2018

The Parma Donation Center is located on 5585 Pearl Avenue and is open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday to Sunday

The Red Cross also has a donation center in our Akron office and a donation center in Mansfield.

Here are some helpful facts as you prepare to take the next steps to donate today:

  • The average person has about 10 to 12 pints of blood in his or her body.
  • There are four blood groups: A, B, AB and O.
  • Red cells, which contain hemoglobin, carry oxygen throughout the blood and give blood its red color, are used to treat trauma or surgery patients.
  • Platelets helps prevent massive blood loss by helping blood clot and is used to treat cancer patients, organ transplant patients and surgery patients.
  • You can donate blood every 56 days and you can donate platelets up to 24 times per year.
  • You must be at least 17 years old to donate. In Ohio, you can donate blood if you are 16 years old and have written parental consent.
  • You must weigh at least 110 pounds. Additional weight requirements apply
    for donors 18 years old and younger and all high school donors.
  • From beginning to end, the blood donation process takes about one hour and 15 minutes to donate blood and three hours to donate platelets.
  • The Red Cross does not charge for the blood itself, but does recoup the many costs associated with the donation process.
  • After you donate, you can enjoy juice and cookies in the refreshment area and think about the difference you’ve made!

Blood Donation 2018

Visit RedCrossBlood.org today to sign up to donate. This is a journey you can start this new year and resolve to continue every 56 days.

Blood drive volunteer serves as ambassador inspiring others to volunteer and give lifesaving blood

By Ifat Gazia, American Red Cross Volunteer
Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross Volunteer

 

Mariann Pete1A 77-year-old American Red Cross volunteer from Ashtabula, Ohio, Mariann Pete likes to help people and be there for them during their emergencies. Marianne started volunteering seven years ago with her primary duties focused on managing blood donors at Ashtabula County Medical Center (ACMC) in Ashtabula County. An inspiration for people of all ages who consider volunteering part-time, Mariann has volunteered since 2002 two to three times every month with her weekly hours ranging between four to five.

In 1980, Mariann’s son needed expensive blood transfusions. Her friend became a donor. “It was my friend who came forward to donate his blood to my son. Transfusions at that time would have been otherwise unaffordable for me,” she said.

While reflecting on her volunteering experiences, Mariann added, “The practice of volunteering is very rewarding, allowing me to meet different people as well who come to ACMC hospital for their blood transfusions or donations. It is a good thing that I get to interact with all of them. The staff is also nice in the hospital and over the years I [have gotten] to know most of the people working there.”

Photos by Paul Wadowick, American Red Cross volunteer

“Mariann Pete is very well-known and respected by all in her community,” said Tara Dragon, Red Cross Account Manager. “She welcomes all donors with a loving, caring smile, volunteering with all of her heart.  She is a great help to myself and to the American Red Cross in making a difference in her community, and to the lives of recipients and donors.  I want thank Mariann personally for all that she does.”

Other than volunteering at ACMC on a routine basis where she registers the donors and sometimes manages the canteen, Mariann also volunteers at blood drives in different schools and churches in and around Ashtabula County.

There is a critical need for blood donor ambassadors like Mariann in Ashtabula County, and for blood donors throughout Northeast Ohio to help replenish the lifesaving supply during the severe blood shortage currently being experienced. Their efforts are vital as the Red Cross heads into the difficult holiday blood collection season. Visit redcross.org/neo for more information and to complete a volunteer application.  And to make a blood donation appointment, visit redcrossblood.org

 

 

 

Festive Canfield Fair Offers Volunteers Opportunities and Fun

By Karen Conklin, Executive Director of the American Red Cross Lake to River Chapter
Photos by Mary Williams/American Red Cross

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Who remembers the Lennon Sisters? How about Journey? “Don’t stop believing!” Are you a Band Perry fan? Do you enjoy Toby Keith? These artists have all entertained at the Canfield Fair! Toby Keith will once again perform on Sept. 3 at this year’s fair.

The Canfield Fair (Mahoning County) is the largest county fair in Ohio. More than 350,000 visitors will come through the gates from Aug. 29 through Labor Day. At the Lake to River Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Canfield Fair is a big deal. We’ve been smelling those french fries and hot sausage sandwiches for weeks. Over 437 vendors participate in the fair and, by the way, parking is always free.

IMG_1654For decades, the Red Cross has played an important role at the fair. Each day the blood mobile is there collecting lifesaving blood. In the medical building, board members and volunteers staff our booth, where we pass out smoke alarm application forms. We work in three-hour shifts. Most help at our booth, then take in the sights, sounds and, of course, the food. Our volunteers get free tickets to the fair! We may have some shifts available.IMG_1681

Another important service we provide—and have been for the past half-century—is the first aid station. This is such an important part of IMG_1626the fair that 20 years ago, the Canfield Fair Board constructed a Red Cross building, where onsite care is provided. They also built a secondary site on the opposite side of the fairgrounds. Certified Red Cross volunteers help scribe (keep records)  and do minor triage for fair injuries that are overseen by a doctor. EMS plays a part, transporting the injured via golf carts to immediate help. Ambulances (and even a helicopter) are a call away if needed. Historically, the most frequent fair injuries have been bee stings, animal bites and blisters. So if you attend, wear comfortable shoes, don’t stick your hands in the animals’ stalls and do eat lots of yummy fair food. Who cares about the calories?

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Since 1846 the Canfield Fair has been serving up fun times and great memories. If you are interested in volunteering, call our office at 330-392-2551 and ask for Vickie. If you’re not yet a volunteer, visit our website and click the “Volunteer” tab at the top of the page to start the process.

The ABCs of Donating A, B, A/B and O

What All Donors Need To Know Before Rolling Up Their Sleeves

By Christy Peters, External Communications Manager, Biomedical Services

The need for lifesaving blood and platelets is constant. In fact, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion. And your contribution is important for a stable and reliable blood supply. But before you schedule your appointment to donate blood, here is information to ensure you’re prepared for a successful donation.

To donate blood, you must be:

  • At least 17 years-old in most states, or 16 years-old with parental consent if allowed by state law (such as Ohio).
  • You must weigh at least 110 pounds
  • You must be in good general health and feeling well on the day of your donation.

Prior to your blood donation, make sure you drink plenty of water and eat a healthy meal. When you come to give, you will also be asked to show a donor card, driver’s license, or other form(s) of ID.

The entire blood donation process takes about an hour from start to finish. It consists of :

  • Registration
  • A mini-physical
  • The actual donation
  • Refreshments!

The actual blood donation takes about 8-10 minutes and you will donate one pint of blood (the average person has 10-12 pints). Your one pint consists of three components, red blood cells, platelets and plasma and each one can be given to a different patient based on their need. With each blood donation you have the potential to help save up to three lives!

Join the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross and make an appointment now to give blood. Download the free Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Firm Steps Up During Urgent Appeal for Blood Donations

You can’t miss the banner as you drive just east of downtown Cleveland on I-90.

It’s huge.

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The timing of the message, hanging on a wall facing north at Jergens Inc. couldn’t be better. There is an urgent need for blood and platelet donors, due to a donation shortage this winter.  But even if there wasn’t a shortage, that banner would still be hanging, urging motorists to become blood donors.

“We hang the banner at this time every year,” said Jack Schron, President and CEO of Jergens Inc.  They also hold employee blood drives, 4 or 5 a year, about every 56 days – which is the amount of time donors must wait before giving blood again.

“It’s just the right thing to do, a way to give back,” said Schron, who added, “A lot of people can write a check, but as I tell my kids, only you can decide whether to give your blood and your time.”

Schron shared his motivation for hosting regular blood drives as he donated another pint.  His 83rd.  The CEO of the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio, Mike Parks, joined Schron as they both gave the gift of life.

 

“We want to recognize loyalty,” said Parks.  “When you look at the culture of this company, the 25-year employees, it’s evident that this company really values loyalty.”

Parks gave a “Challenge Coin” to long-time Human Resources Director, Kathy Puskas, for organizing the blood drives at Jergens for the past 25 years.

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Mike Parks gives a Challenge Coin to Kathy Puskas, long-time Human Resources Director at Jergens Inc. for organizing more than 100 blood drives at the Cleveland manufacturing plant

As we recently noted, severe winter weather, in addition to seasonal illnesses and hectic holiday schedules, have collectively contributed to about 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December. Blood and platelet donations are being distributed to hospitals as fast as they come in. The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood and platelet donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.

“The Red Cross is grateful to Jergens, and so many companies throughout Northeast Ohio who host regular blood drives throughout the year,” said Christy Peters, External Communications Manager for the Northern Ohio Region.  “If they did not open their doors and allow us to have blood drives, we could not continue to meet the needs of local hospitals. Every blood drive sponsor is a vital part of our lifesaving mission.”

Eligible donors can schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

“Hey, if you can do it,” says Schron, “go for it!”

Give One More Lifesaving Gift Before the Year Ends!

Crocker Park to Host First Holiday Blood Drive

 

crocker sign

The American Red Cross is asking the community to give one more gift before the year ends – the gift of life! Crocker Park and Cleveland’s Q104 are hosting a special blood drive Wednesday, Dec. 27, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Crocker Park’s Market Square. Attendees will enjoy refreshments, a gift, while supplies last, raffle drawings and a free train ride and snow globe photo at Crocker Park.

Right now, the Red Cross has a critical need for type O negative and B negative donors to help save patient lives. Type O negative and B negative blood donations are being distributed to hospitals as fast as they are coming in. Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations.

Blood donations decline as people get busy with holiday activities and travel. However, patients don’t get a holiday from needing blood. The Red Cross must collect nearly 14,000 blood donations every day to help ensure patients get the treatment they need.

Your blood donation may give a patient in need more time – and more holidays – with loved ones. To make an appointment for the Crocker Park Holiday Blood Drive, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit rcblood.org/appt and enter code: marketsquare or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).