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.

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

 

 

Remembering the Red Cross Role on 9/11

The attack on America 15 years ago, on 9/11, 2001 brought out the best in people.

“Within the first 48 hours, the Red Cross in Northeast Ohio had deployed emergency response vehicles and workers (most of them volunteers) to both New York and Pennsylvania,” according to Debbie Chitester, Disaster Program Manager for the Red Cross of Summit, Portage and Medina Counties.

Debbie went to New York with about two dozen other workers from Northeast Ohio. In this video, she recalls the role the Red Cross played in the days immediately after the attack at Ground Zero, where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were brought down. The National September 11 Memorial and Museum now stands at the site.

“It’s still very emotional for me,” Debbie added, “especially at this time of year.”

Northeast Ohio Red Cross Workers were also deployed to Shanksville, Pa., where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed after the passengers fought the terrorists who had hijacked the plane.  The role the Red Cross played is acknowledged at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, which is about a three and-a-half hour drive southeast of Cleveland.

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In 2009, Congress designated September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. In honor of the sacrifice so many made on that day, many people donate blood at one of the numerous Red Cross blood drives held across the country, not only on 9/11, but also on the days preceding and following the anniversary of the attack.

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If you feel so inclined to donate blood, in honor of those innocent Americans who lost their lives in the attacks 15 years ago,  you can find the blood drive nearest you at redcrossblood.org.

Give Blood and #give10 with the Cleveland Browns

Team Encourages Volunteerism, Blood Donations as Training Camp Begins

Rain in Berea on Friday, July 29 did not dampen the spirits of Cleveland Browns fans who turned out for the opening of the 2016 training camp.  And once again, the Red Cross was invited to camp to encourage fans to give blood during the annual Cleveland Browns Blood Drive on Saturday, July 30.

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Browns Fan Becky Browand

We also invited fans to #give10.

The Browns’ #give10 initiative is meant to inspire fans to help their communities by volunteering for 10 hours each year.  And there’s no better place to begin volunteering than the American Red Cross.

“Red Cross volunteers help people in their darkest hour, following a fire, flood or other disaster that forces them from their homes,” said Pat Buckhold, Regional Volunteer Officer for the Northeast Ohio Region. “But there are many other opportunities to give back, by teaching First Aid/CPR, helping members of the military connect with their families, or offering behind the scenes support as a receptionist or caseworker.”

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Red Cross volunteer Carol Grant and Browns fan Susan Walter of Cleveland

Volunteers also help at blood drives, like the Browns Blood Drive being held at 13 separate sites in Northeast Ohio on Saturday, July 30.  Fans who attend Browns training camp can donate blood at the Berea Recreation Center, 451 Front Street from 8:00 am-2:00 pm. All presenting donors at each blood drive location will receive a commemorative Browns T-shirt (while supplies last) and have the chance to win great Browns-related prizes.

The blood drive couldn’t be more timely.  We are in the midst of a significant blood shortage and have issued a blood emergency declaration, calling for donors to give now. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (733-2767) or log onto redcrossblood.org to make an appointment to donate blood.

To become a Red Cross volunteer, go online and click on the volunteer tab, or call 216-431-3328.

And Go Browns!

Photo credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

Blood Donors Give at Gateway

By Ryan McDivitt, American Red Cross Volunteer

Electricity was still in the air at Cleveland’s Gateway Plaza Monday, June 20th  just hours after the Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA Championship. While hundreds of fans lined up to buy Cavaliers gear at Quicken Loans Arena, two American Red Cross blood mobiles were parked on the adjacent plaza between the Q and Progressive Field for the annual Cleveland Indians Blood drive.

The Red Cross partnered with the Indians and Cleveland Clinic to collect urgently needed blood. Summer vacations and activities often make it difficult to collect the 14,000 lifesaving blood donations needed every day, so blood drives like this are a huge contribution to the community.

Donors were given a chance to win free tickets to an upcoming Indian’s game as an incentive to attract caring individuals to donate their blood, plasma, and platelets.

And because the bloodmobiles were parked in the shadow of the Q, donors were able to snap selfies with the home of the NBA Champs in the background.

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Photo credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

Donors can save time whenever they give blood with Rapidpass. The pre-donation information and health history questionnaire can be filled out online on the day of the donation at redcrossblood.org/rapidpass.

The Red Cross strives to make donating blood a convenient, easy, and rewarding experience. The Red Cross Blood Donor app allows its users to manage donation appointments, track the lifetime impact of their donations, and even earn rewards doing so. If you would like to help save a life by donating blood, download the Red Cross Blood app, visit redcrossblood.org, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment.

And congratulations to the Cleveland Cavaliers!

And go Tribe!