DAYTON – Community Blood Center officially kicked-off the first state-wide celebration of January Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month on Friday with a call for more people to join a new generation of blood donors in 2019 and beyond.
CBC Chief Operating Officer Jodi Minneman thanked Rep. Steve Huffman of Miami County, an ER physician and lifetime blood donor, for sponsoring House Bill 252 to declare January “Blood Donor Awareness Month.” CBC gave proponent testimony before the House and Senate Health Committees and the bill was signed into law on Feb. 8, 2018.
“We’re here today to thank Steve Huffman and endorse the legislation’s stated goals,” Minneman said. “We want to raise awareness about the necessity of blood donations, to encourage more people to donate and to honor all donors for helping save the lives of fellow Ohioans.”
Minneman also announced CBC’s top strategic goal for 2019 of identifying and recruiting more platelet and plasma donors. These blood components are critical for the care of trauma patients, cancer patients, transplant and burn patients.
She emphasized the need for a new generation of donors to take the place of lifetime donors who are approaching an age when they many no longer be able to donate and might eventually need blood.
“We ask anyone who has never given blood to consider donating for the first time,” she said. “And if you are already a donor, consider giving one more time than you may have planned.”
Several honored guests of CBC spoke at the kick-off celebration:
Wendell Clark from Eaton (CBC’s all-time top donor with 683 lifetime donations). “We need to keep recruiting more young people because the donor base is getting older and we need replacements for them.”
Katie Ellis from Kettering (CBC’s top female donor with 532 lifetime donations). “It’s only an hour and a half out of my day, and it’s no big deal,” Ellis said. “I want to be able to help anybody I can. It’s just a way to give back and it doesn’t cost you anything to give a pint of blood to help somebody.”
Susan Leugers from Botkins (Started the annual Chelsea Lukey Memorial Blood Drive in memory of the daughter she lost to pancreatic cancer at age 22). “I think that anybody that can give blood should,” Leugers said. “Four years ago I started the blood drive in honor of my daughter, and it’s very well attended by people from Botkins. I’m proud of our community and I’m proud of the people who step up to the plate and donate blood.”
Kelly Schmitmeyer from Anna (Schmitmeyer was scheduled to make her 44th lifetime donation the day 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 now donates in her honor).
“I was always a routine blood donor, and while I knew it was important and a good thing to do, it never had the impact it did when I became a recipient of blood in December of 2017,” Schmitmeyer said. “In my recovery time the one question that continued to cross my mind was ‘What if the blood hadn’t been available for me?’ Giving blood really does save lives and so that’s my encouragement to everyone. What an easy way to save lives by giving blood. It truly is needed and you never know when you might be a recipient yourself.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.