DAYTON – Miami County lawmaker Steve Huffman took care of some unfinished business on Jan. 10 at the Dayton Community Blood Center.
Huffman, a lifelong blood donor and an ER doctor, sponsored House Bill 252 to designate January “Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month” while representing the Ohio House 80th District. Three days after his swearing-in as the newly-elected member of the Ohio Senate 5th District, he joined family members in adding their donations to the first celebration of “Blood Donor Awareness Month.”
Steve and his wife, Kathryn, donated with three of their five children. Daughter Ashley and twins Will and Allison were available because they were home on holiday break from the University of Notre Dame.
“They’re modeling after me and my wife, who modeled after my parents, to give on a regular basis,” Steve said. “They started in high school, and like a lot of people they just need a little reminder. That’s what Blood Donor Awareness Month is all about: a reminder to give blood on a regular basis as often as you can.”
The opportunity to donate with his son Will is especially meaningful to Steve. The twins were born 12 weeks premature and spent six weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. Will needed a transfusion and Steve donated directly for his son.
Steve encouraged his children to begin donating in high school. He envisioned “Blood Donor Awareness Month” as a way to inspire a new generation of blood donors.
“I think it’s great getting into the high schools,” he said. “The earlier you can spark donating with young people, the more likely they’re going to be lifelong donors.”
Blood Donor Awareness Month is an opportunity for CBC to emphasize its strategic goals for 2019: Welcome new donors, encourage current donors to donate “one more time” than planned and identify and recruit new platelet and plasma donors.
Platelets and plasma are clotting agents that are critical for the care of trauma patients, cancer patients, transplant and burn patients.
“They’re needed in the ER and after surgery and trauma just as much as whole blood,” said Huffman, an ER physician at TeamHealth. “They are life-saving, especially in the ER, where you use plasma to increase volume. Trauma patients lose so much blood they need the protein in the plasma to get back to their natural state.”
“Platelets are used in the ER to stop bleeding,” he said, “and they are used for cancer patients because the chemotherapy they are getting has decreased their own system’s ability to make platelets.”
Part of CBC’s goal for 2019 and beyond is to provide the opportunity to donate platelets and plasma at more mobile blood drives.
“I think it’s great that CBC has so many different areas to set up and to partner with so many churches and other sponsors to provide the opportunity to give blood products,” he said.
Donors can connect with Community Blood Center for the latest information and services at www.GivingBlood.org. Individuals can get fast and complete answers on how to make their first donation, organize a blood drive or bring Community Blood Center’s education program to a school. People can get all the updates in the CBC/CTS newsroom, find quick links to Community Blood Center’s social media pages or schedule an appointment to donate by connecting to www.DonorTime.com.
Donors are required to provide a photo ID that includes their full name. Past CBC donors also are asked to bring their CBC donor ID card. Donors must be at least 17 years of age (16 years old with parental consent: form available at www.givingblood.org or at CBC branch and blood drive locations), weigh a minimum of 110 pounds (donors may have to weigh more, depending on their height) and be in good physical health. The Food and Drug Administration changes blood donor eligibility guidelines periodically. Individuals with eligibility questions are invited to email [email protected] or call 1-800-388-GIVE. Donors can make an appointment at www.DonorTime.com.
Community Blood Center/Community Tissue Services is an independent, not-for-profit organization. Community Blood Center provides blood products to 25 hospitals and health centers within a 15-county service area in the Miami (Ohio) and Whitewater (Indiana)Valleys.
For more information about Community Blood Center/Community Tissue Services, visit www.givingblood.org.