January is Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month


DAYTON – January 2019 is the inaugural celebration of “Blood Donor Awareness Month” in the state of Ohio.

Community Blood Center will host a news conference at 10 a.m. Friday at the Dayton CBC Donor Center, 349 S. Main St., to officially kick-off the month-long observance.

All donors and supporters are invited to the celebration. CBC hopes to boost the blood supply after the long holiday period by encouraging donations Friday at the Dayton CBC. Everyone who registers to donate will received the commemorative “Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month” T-shirt and a $10 Kroger gift card. Donors must make an appointment at www.DonorTime.com.

Rep. Stephen Huffman (R-Tipp City; Senator elect for 5th Senate District), an emergency room physician and a life-long blood donor, introduced House Bill 252 for an Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month in 2017. CBC gave proponent testimony before the House and Senate Health Committees, and the bill was signed into law on Feb. 8, 2018.

“It is my sincere hope that it will make a difference, that it will inspire our citizens to act, and it will most importantly save lives every day across our great state,” Rep. Huffman said. “We have a growing need to get the young people involved, to teach them that it’s easy to start giving blood as part of service to others.”

Honored guests at the news conference and celebration event:

  • Wendell Clark (Eaton) – CBC’s all-time top donor with 683 lifetime donations. Clark returned to donating in 2016 after a two-year deferment for cancer treatment. He was inducted into the 2017 class of the Fresenius Kabi National Donation Hall of Fame.
  • Larry Turner (Xenia) – Turner is CBC’s second-ranked donor with 665 lifetime donations. He is only the second CBC donor to top 600 donations.
  • Bert Jones (Dayton) – Jones is CBC’s third-ranked donor with 616 lifetime donations and the last donor to top 600 donations.
  • Katie Ellis (Kettering) – CBC’s top female donor with 531 lifetime donations. She grew up in Kettering, became a nurse and coached golf and soccer at Alter High School. She was one of the original donors in CBC’s apheresis program. In 2017 she became the first CBC female donor to reach 500 donations.
  • Judy LaMusga (Beavercreek) – CBC’s second-ranked female donor with 477 lifetime donations. She is one CBC’s original apheresis donors, served on the CBC advisory board and received CBC’s Award of Distinction. She retired from 35 years of public service with the Montgomery County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities then earned a law degree at the University of Dayton and opened her own practice. She gave proponent testimony for Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month before the House Health Committee.
  • Larry Smith (Oakwood) – Smith has 367 lifetime donations. He has been blind since birth and was abandoned as an infant on the steps of the Children’s Home. He overcame an abusive childhood to become a hospital dark room technician, marathon runner and lifetime donor. He braved a winter storm on the day after Christmas in 2012, with all mobile blood drives canceled, to donate at the Dayton CBC. He was inducted into the 2016 class of the Fresenius Kabi National Donation Hall of Fame.
  • Susan Leugers (Botkins) – Leugers has 138 lifetime donations and is the coordinator of the annual Chelsea Lukey Memorial Blood Drive in Botkins. She founded the blood drive in 2016 to honor her daughter, who was just 22 when she lost her battle with pancreatic cancer. Leugers gladly agreed to move the blood drive to the day after New Year’s to help replenish the post-holidays blood supply. She gave proponent testimony for Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month before the Senate Health Committee in 2017 and was inducted into the 2018 class of the Fresenius Kabi National Donation Hall of Fame.
  • Kelly Schmitmeyer (Anna) – Schmitmeyer was set to make her 44th lifetime donation the morning of the 2017 Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish holiday blood drive when she suffered a pulmonary embolism that nearly claimed her life. She received eight blood and platelet transfusions and was resuscitated several times. Schmitmeyer can no longer donate but her entire family continues to donate in her honor. She served as a volunteer at the 2018 Sacred Heart holiday blood drive in December.
  • Glenn Stoops (Oakwood) – Stoops is a committed platelet donor with 315 lifetime donations. He began donating after receiving blood during surgery after an accident. He inspired his young friend Theodore Hale to become a donor.
  • Theodore Hale (Oakwood) – Hale is a 19-year-old freshman at Sinclair Community College who has already achieved 25 lifetime blood donations. He began donating while at Fairmont High School where he was honored as “Firebird of the Year” for academics, leadership and service and as “Mr. Fairmont” for school spirit. He is one of CBC’s youngest platelet donors.

In 2019 CBC is expanding the opportunity to donate platelets and plasma at select community blood drives. Platelets are the cells that control bleeding while plasma is the fluid that maintains blood pressure. Both are vital for the treatment of cancer, trauma, organ transplant and burn patients.

To encourage donors to join this 2019 initiative CBC is introducing “The Big Six Platelet Donor Challenge.” CBC will feature a new, limited-edition platelet donor T-shirt every two months. The T-shirt is free when individuals register to donate. Platelet donors are encouraged to donate often and collect all six.

New platelet donors are in high demand, especially those with blood types A, AB or B positive. Individuals can find out more at www.GivingBlood.org or talk to an apheresis specialist at 937-461-3220.

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 canidonate@cbccts.org 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.