Help family, friends and neighbors by becoming a Red Cross Volunteer Transportation Specialist

By Chris Chmura, American Red Cross volunteer

September 21, 2020- We are all living in a new world with daily changes, challenges and a different pace in our professional and personal lives. Everyone has been pushed to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One glaring fact is that millions of people have had their lives transformed into a daily struggle for life’s basic needs of food, shelter and, most importantly, their health. I have learned a deeper appreciation for these basic needs.

Chris Chmura

For years, I have donated blood to the American Red Cross to help others in need, feel like I was giving back and to follow my father’s lead with his years of donations. I wondered how I could increase my support by stepping into a more active role. I signed up to become a volunteer transportation specialist. 

Why this role? 

The Red Cross has many options for you to volunteer your time but the transportation specialist fit into my personal and professional schedule. Plus the position is fun! I enjoy going into various hospitals/labs, traveling throughout the city and working with people who are making a huge difference in millions of lives. My professional role is in the business world. So this volunteer position takes me into the dramatically different health profession. My respect has gone sky-high for the kind people who work around the clock at Red Cross labs and hospitals to process blood for people in need. I am amazed by the journey blood travels from a donor to the person who relies on it to save their life.  

My position started with some online training, driver shadowing and taking the leap to take over a shift. The Red Cross has an incredible network of support to help you succeed in this volunteer role. I hope you decide to sign up for this fulfilling experience. You can meet all types of people, learn about this lifesaving organization, expand your personal growth and feel the satisfaction of helping during this historic time. 

Do you have what it takes?

Are you a dependable, safe and courteous person who can help us make these important deliveries? Volunteer Transportation Specialists deliver lifesaving blood products from Red Cross distribution facilities to hospitals, using a Red Cross vehicle. We need you to commit to two to four shifts per month (or more if you can). Typical shifts are about four hours.

You’ll also need to meet these important qualifications:

  • Have a valid state driver’s license and proof of insurance
  • Have three years of driving experience and a clean driving record
  • Ability to lift up to 45 pounds

Apply to volunteer at: redcross.org/volunteertoday.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer


Help us keep a robust blood supply as the pandemic continues

Spike in COVID-19 cases has led to emergency plasma shortage

$5 Amazon.com Gift Cards offered to thank all blood donors who come to give

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

August 5, 2020- Right now, the American Red Cross has an emergency shortage of convalescent plasma, a potentially lifesaving treatment for patients with COVID-19. The Red Cross has seen demand for convalescent plasma more than double over the last month as the number of coronavirus cases increases across the U.S. convalescent plasma products are now being distributed faster than donations are coming in.

Individuals who have fully recovered and received a verified COVID-19 diagnosis are urged to sign up to give convalescent plasma now by completing the donor eligibility form at RedCrossBlood.org/plasma4covid.

Blood and Plasma Donation 2020

Convalescent plasma is plasma that is collected from patients who have recovered from an infection and have antibodies that might help fight that infection – in this case, those who have fully recovered from COVID-19. With each donation, COVID-19 survivors have a unique ability to help up to three patients recover from the virus.

BLOOD DONORS NEEDED TO KEEP SUPPLY STRONG AMID PANDEMIC 

Though this summer may feel different than summers past, one thing remains constant: The need for blood donations to help save lives. The Red Cross is urging healthy individuals to give blood to restock the shelves for patients battling disease and facing the unexpected.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the country have stepped up to help by giving blood or platelets with the Red Cross. Blood donations from healthy individuals are just as essential now to meet patient needs, and those who gave this spring may be eligible to help again.

Donation appointments can be made for the coming days and weeks by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

As a thank-you for helping ensure a stable blood supply, those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma, including convalescent plasma, from now until Sept. 3 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Amazon.* Plus, come to give by Aug. 31 and automatically be entered for a chance to win a trip for four to Cedar Point or Knott’s Berry Farm, redeemable through the 2021 season!^

BLOOD DONATION SAFETY PRECAUTIONS 

To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, individuals who do not feel well or who believe they may be ill with COVID-19 should postpone their donation.

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and Plasma Donation 2020

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

UPCOMING BLOOD DONATION OPPORTUNITIES:

American Red Cross Blood Donation Centers

Warzel Blood Donation Center

3747 Euclid Ave., Cleveland

Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Parma Blood Donation Center

5585 Pearl Rd., Parma

Monday – Thursday: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Fridays and Saturdays: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Summit Blood Donation Center

501 W. Market St., Akron

Sundays, Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Tuesdays: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Wednesdays and Thursdays: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Ashtabula County:

Andover

8/11/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Andover Christian Church, 200 Stillman Ave

Conneaut

8/13/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., New Leaf United Methodist Church, 110 Gateway Avenue

Geneva

8/13/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Northwest Ambulance District, 1480 S Broadway

Rock Creek

8/10/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Eagleville Bible Church, 1981 State Route 45

_______________

Cuyahoga County:

Beachwood

8/11/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Cleveland Clinic Administrative Campus, 25875 Science Park Drive, Building 1

8/14/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center, 3999 Richmond Road

Berea

8/13/2020: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., St Adalbert Church, 66 Adalbert St.

Brecksville

8/6/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Christ the Redeemer Lutheran, 9201 Brecksville Rd

Brooklyn

8/13/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Health-Mor, 1 American Road, Suite 1250

Chagrin Falls

8/6/2020: 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., St. Martin’s Episcopal, 6295 Chagrin River Rd.

8/9/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Valley Lutheran Church, 87 E. Orange St.

Cleveland

8/7/2020: 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Fairview Hospital, 18101 Lorain Ave.

8/12/2020: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., MetroHealth Medical Center, 2500 Metrohealth Drive

8/12/2020: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Cleveland Clinic Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, 10300 Carnegie Ave.

8/13/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Lutheran Hospital, 1730 West 25th Street

8/13/2020: 2 p.m. – 8 p.m., St Columbkille Church, 6740 Broadview Rd.

8/14/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Cleveland Clinic Miller Tower, 9500 Euclid Avenue

Cleveland Heights

8/11/2020: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Church of the Saviour, 2537 Lee Road

Lakewood

8/9/2020: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Lakewood YMCA, 16915 Detroit Ave

8/11/2020: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., St Edward High School, 13500 Detroit Rd.

8/15/2020: 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Lakewood Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 1382 Arthur Avenue

Lyndhurst

8/6/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Lyndhurst Community Center, 1341 Parkview Drive

Mayfield Heights

8/10/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Mayfield Hts DeJohn Community Center, 6306 Marsol Dr.

8/14/2020: 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., Hillcrest Hospital, 6780 Mayfield Road

Olmsted Falls

8/10/2020: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m., St Mary of the Falls Church, 25615 Bagley Rd

Rocky River

8/6/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Rocky River Civic Center, 21016 Hilliard Rd.

8/12/2020: 1 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Rocky River Civic Center, 21016 Hilliard Rd.

Seven Hills

8/7/2020: 1 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Seven Hills Cmnty Rec Center, 7777 Summitview Drive

Solon

8/10/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Solon Community, 35000 Portz Parkway

Strongsville

8/11/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Cleveland Clinic Strongsville Family Health & Surgery Center, 16761 Southpark Center

Walton Hills

8/12/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Walton Hills Village Hall, 7595 Walton Road

Warrensville Heights

8/9/2020: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Cleveland Marriott East, 26300 Harvard Rd.

8/14/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., South Pointe Hospital, 20000 Harvard Road

Westlake

8/6/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Rd.

_______________

Erie County

Sandusky

8/7/2020: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Firelands Regional Medical Center, 1912 Hayes Ave Sandusky

8/11/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., American Legion, 3615 Hayes Ave

_______________

Geauga County

Chagrin Falls

8/13/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Bainbridge Town Hall, 17826 Chillicothe Rd

Chardon

8/6/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Chardon United Methodist Church, 515 North St.

_______________

Huron County

Bellevue

8/7/2020: 1:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., Bellevue VFW Post 1238, 6104 US-20E

Collins

8/15/2020: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., United Methodist Church, 4290 Hartland Center Rd

New London

8/13/2020: 12:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., Eagles, 29 West Fir Street

Norwalk

8/12/2020: 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Eagles, 151 Cline St.

_______________

Lake County

Madison

8/12/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Cornerstone Friends Church, 2300 Hubbard Rd.

Mentor

8/8/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Advent Lutheran Church, 7985 Munson Rd.

8/12/2020: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Great Lakes Mall, 7850 Mentor Ave.

8/13/2020: 12 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Mentor Civic Arena, 8600 Munson Rd.

8/14/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., St Bede the Venerable, 9114 Lakeshore Blvd.

Painesville

8/14/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Concord Community Center, 7671 Auburn Rd.

Willoughby

8/12/2020: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Lost Nation Sports Park, 38630 Jet Center Drive

_______________

Lorain

Avon

8/11/2020: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Richard E. Jacobs Health Campus, 33100 Cleveland Clinic Blvd.

8/13/2020: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Mitchell’s One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning, 1750 Moore Road

Elyria

8/12/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Cleveland Clinic Elyria Family Health Center, 303 Chestnut Commons, Family Health & Surgery Center

Lorain

8/6/2020: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Lorain Lighthouse United Methodist Church, 3015 Meister Road

Sheffield Village

8/11/2020: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Ohio Business College, 5095 Waterford Dr

* Restrictions apply. Additional information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.

^ Terms and conditions apply. Additional information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/CedarFair.

Got ink? You can still give blood

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

July 17, 2020- In honor of National Tattoo Day today we’re debunking the myth that those with tattoos can’t give blood. On June 8, the American Red Cross implemented new changes to donor eligibility criteria that may make it even easier for those with tattoos to give!

tattoo

 

In most states, including Ohio, there is no waiting period to give blood if your tattoo was applied in a state-regulated facility. The District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wyoming do not regulate tattoo facilities. If you received a tattoo in one of these states, the waiting period to give has gone from 12 months to three months.

If you are an individual currently deferred with the Red Cross for a tattoo under the former policy, your donor record will be updated by the end of July to align with the new policy. If you would like to have your donor record updated prior to then, donors can contact the Red Cross Donor and Client Support Center at 1-866-236-3276 for more immediate action. Please be aware that deferrals cannot be removed onsite at our blood drives or donation centers.

 

The Red Cross currently has an urgent need for blood donors to help ensure patients receive the lifesaving blood products they need. Healthy, eligible donors are encouraged to make an appointment in the coming weeks. To schedule a time to give, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Donors are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance and recent local and state mandates. To learn more about donor eligibility, visit RedCrossBlood.org/eligibility.

 

Scared of needles? That is okay! You can help the Red Cross assist patients in need of lifesaving blood by becoming a volunteer blood donor ambassador at Red Cross blood drives. Visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to learn more and to apply.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, Red Cross volunteer

Red Cross joins forces with WONDER WOMAN 1984 to save the day for patients in need

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

July 8, 2020- This July, the American Red Cross and WONDER WOMAN 1984 are joining forces to save the day for patients in need of lifesaving blood transfusions. The Red Cross has an urgent need for blood donors this summer, as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented supply challenges amid this uncertain environment. Additionally, despite states lifting stay-at-home orders and reopening, many blood drives at businesses and community organizations continue to be cancelled as these locations remain closed or restrict the number of individuals at any location.

As part of the partnership, the Red Cross is organizing an epic prop replica giveaway from the new Warner Bros. Pictures film WONDER WOMAN 1984, due to hit theaters nationwide on Oct. 2. This giveaway was designed to thank heroes who roll up a sleeve and help patients battling illness and injury. Those who show up to donate blood and platelets through July 31 will automatically be entered for a chance to win an authentic WONDER WOMAN 1984 movie prop replica package, which includes the Golden Lasso and a pair of Gauntlets, identical to WONDER WOMAN’s from the film.*

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Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood—kids battling cancer, accident victims being raced into emergency rooms and new moms with complicated childbirths. The Northern Ohio Blood Services Region needs to collect approximately 500 pints of blood to meet the needs of patients at more than 70 local hospitals. Unfortunately, only 3 out of 100 Americans donate blood.

While tens of thousands of donors gave blood in response to an initial blood shortage caused by this coronavirus outbreak, it’s important to remember that red blood cells must be transfused within 42 days of donation, and platelets within just five days, so they must constantly be replenished. If you are feeling well, please make an appointment to give by using the Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Scheduling Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Blood and platelet donors in Northern Ohio can also visit one of three donation centers, located in Cleveland, Parma or Akron.

Blood Donation during COVID-19

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arrival and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance, as well as following recent mandates from the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.

Donors can save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

In most states, individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

 

*Terms and conditions apply. Valid email address is required. Limit five (5) entries per presenting donor. Winner will be selected and notified via the email listed in their American Red Cross donor profile on or around Aug. 10, 2020. Offer is non-transferable and not redeemable for cash. Void where prohibited. Giveaway begins July 1, 2020 and ends July 31, 2020. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries are not responsible for the promotion, administration or execution of this giveaway.

Edited By Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

African American blood donors critically needed to support sickle cell patients

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

June 19, 2020- In the U.S., about 100,000 people of various racial and ethnic backgrounds are living with sickle cell disease, most of whom are of African or Latino descent, such as Glinda Dames Fincher of Mayfield Heights. African American blood donors are vital for many patients with rare blood types, like those with sickle cell disease, who depend on blood that must be matched very closely – beyond the A, B, O and AB blood types – to reduce the risk of complications.

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Glinda Dames Fincher

Since mid-March, the number of African Americans donating blood with the Red Cross has dropped by more than half. This low donor turnout is largely due to blood drive cancellations at businesses, churches and schools and the disproportionate COVID-19 infection rates for African Americans compared to other groups.

Despite the decline in blood donations from African American donors, the need for blood products for patients with sickle cell disease has remained steady. Without a readily available blood supply, sickle cell patients can experience severe pain, tissue and organ damage, acute anemia and even strokes. Furthermore, sickle cell patients are at high risk of serious complications from coronavirus infection, and blood transfusion can be a lifesaving treatment for these patients.

Blood and Plasma Donation 2020

The American Red Cross encourages healthy individuals to make appointments to donate blood to ensure blood remains readily available for patients who still rely on transfusions during this uncertain time. Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to ensure the health of all those in attendance.

Make an appointment

Blood and Plasma Donation 2020

Healthy individuals who are feeling well are asked to make an appointment to donate in the weeks and months ahead by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.

Blood donation sites in Northern Ohio include:

  • The Warzel Donation Center – 3747 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
  • The Parma Donation Center – 5585 Pearl Road, Parma, Ohio 44129
  • The Summit Donation Center – 501 W. Market Street, Akron, Ohio, 44303
  • The Toledo Donation Center – 3510 Executive Parkway, Toledo, Ohio 43606

 

Sandusky resident shows age is just a number when it comes to donating blood

By Eilene Guy, American Red Cross volunteer

April 29, 2020- Ken Fultz is proof positive you’re never too old to save a life, or two, or three.

The spry Sanduskian, who celebrated his 90th birthday in March, did his part for others during this COVID-19 emergency by giving blood at a recent American Red Cross blood drive.

Ken Fultz 2

Ken Fultz

“You know, I would do it again tomorrow if they (would) let me,” Ken said. “Everyone there knew what they were doing, and I got thanked over and over again.”

And well he should be thanked. Under the “stay home and save a life” rules to slow the spread of the deadly virus, scores of blood drives have been cancelled across northern Ohio. But the need for blood never stops, for accident victims; moms and newborns in difficult deliveries; surgery and cancer patients; and men, women and children who rely on transfusions for a healthy life.

“Dad has always been my hero,” Ken’s daughter, Sally Carter, said. “He has always put his family first and his community a close second.

“When the COVID-19 virus started to spread, it was hard to keep him inside and safe. When he suggested maybe he could give blood, we made the necessary phone calls to make it happen.”

Ken Fultz Sally Carter facemasked

Ken with his daughter Sally Carter

And while he was at it, Ken encouraged four other family members to donate blood along with him.

Donating blood was nothing new for Ken: His next donation – which could be as soon as late June – will put him into the 10 Gallon Club. That will mean he’s given 80 units of blood! And if each of those units was separated into red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, that amounts to as many as 240 lives saved!

Ken’s generosity isn’t limited to life saving. For more than 25 years, until last fall – at the age of 89 – he delivered Meals on Wheels to an eager group of shut-ins. And he delivered flowers from Zion Lutheran Church to Firelands Regional Medical Center faithfully every week until the hospital had to stop all visits as an infection precaution.

Ken Fultz

“It’s people like Ken who step forward to help others that are the heart and soul of the Red Cross,” said Christy Peters, northern Ohio regional biomedical communications manager. “They are genuine humanitarians, giving the gift of life.”

To find the date, time and location of your nearest Red Cross blood drive, call 1-800-REDCROSS or access RedCrossBlood.org.  Or you can text BLOODAPP to 90999 or search “Red Cross Blood” on the App Store or Goggle Play to get the free Blood Donor App.

 

Blood donors and drives help Red Cross maintain nation’s blood supply

By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northern Ohio

April 9, 2019- Thanks to the many donors who gave blood and scheduled upcoming appointments, and to the sponsors of blood drives during this uncertain time, the American Red Cross has been able to meet immediate patient needs. We encourage individuals to keep their scheduled blood donation appointments and to make new appointments for the weeks ahead to ensure a stable supply throughout this pandemic.

Donating blood is essential to ensuring the health of our communities. The need for blood is constant, and volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need.

Blood drives across Northern Ohio, such as the one held at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, provide an opportunity for blood donors to donate lifesaving blood at a convenient location.

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“Its been incredibly encouraging, and we’re very thankful to the community for their continued support in the midst of so much uncertainty,” said Christy Peters, external communications manager, Northern Ohio Biomedical Services.

Following a very successful blood drive on March 27, which saw 135 pints of blood donated, officials at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse decided to hold another blood drive on April 7. The decision to hold another blood drive proved to be the right decision as the community showed their generosity by filing into the arena once again to donate blood to help others in need.

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Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse will be holding another blood drive on April 24.

Similar stories are being told across the Northern Ohio Region of local communities coming together to ensure the blood supply is well maintained for those who are in need, such as patients undergoing cancer treatment.

On April 8, Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan joined residents to donate blood at the blood drive being held at the Joy Park Community Center.

Akron Mayor

Mayor Daniel Horrigan

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control. To ensure the health of employees, volunteers and staff, precautions include checking temperatures of staff and donors before entering a drive to make sure they are healthy, providing hand sanitizer for use before the drive, as well as throughout the donation process, following social distancing between donors including entry, donation and refreshment areas, routinely disinfecting surfaces, equipment and donor-touched areas, wearing gloves, and changing gloves often, using sterile collection sets and an aseptic scrub for every donation and staff wearing basic face masks.

Blood donation is essential to ensuring the health of our communities. The need for blood is constant, and volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need.

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Every day patients rely on lifesaving blood transfusions including those who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients suffering from cancer. Right now, people are following public health guidance to keep their families safe and that includes contributing to a readily available supply of blood for hospitals.

This is the time to take care of one another. If you are healthy and feeling well, please make an appointment to donate by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

My first attempt to donate blood

By Samantha Pudelski, American Red Cross volunteer

Editors note: The American Red Cross now faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations during this coronavirus outbreak.  Through March 17, nearly 4,000 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to coronavirus concerns, resulting in more than 100,000 fewer blood donations. Healthy individuals are needed to donate now to help patients counting on lifesaving blood.

March 18, 2020- You’ve seen the advertisements and signs before—the ones that list upcoming American Red Cross blood drives in your area. You may drive past the sign on your way home or see something about a local drive on your social media feed. Like many people, I am not fond of needles. This is why for many years I went without donating blood.

This year, I was determined to put my nerves aside to take part in my first blood drive. I found a local site and signed up for a time slot, hoping that scheduling an appointment would help avoid any lines. When I arrived, there were several people donating and several more getting their screenings completed.

Blood bank Campaign ceremony 2017

Laurie Brungeau giving blood during the launch of the Haitian Red Cross blood collection center in Port-au-Prince. The Haitian Red Cross suffered serious damage during the earthquake, but thanks to their hard work–and capacity-building investments from partners like the American Red Cross — they have stregthened and become more sustainable over the years. Photo: Garry Calixte/American Red Cross

After registering and completing my pre-screening, it was time to donate. The nurse asked me which arm I prefer, to which I answered, “Whichever arm that you can find a vein.” The nurse asked me if I have had trouble with nurses finding my veins in the past. They have but I didn’t think that would be an issue for donating. These volunteers do this regularly and are pros, right?

While the nurses at the donation site were, in fact, seasoned experts, the two nurses who checked still had trouble finding a viable vein to use in my arm. Out of caution for my well-being, they told me I wasn’t able to donate. I was incredibly disappointed that of all reasons to be turned away as a donor, it was my lack of a viable vein!

Blood Drive New York 2018

This experience showed me just how important it is for those who can donate blood to do so. After sharing my experience with a few friends, I learned that many of them had similar experiences. From my friends and the nurses at the blood drive, I learned a few best practices I wanted to share for those looking to donate:

  • Drink lots of water before you donate – the day before and the day of your donation.
  • Avoid caffeine to avoid detracting from #1.
  • The magic number for your iron level is 12.5. They test this before you actually start your donation to make sure you have the minimum level.
  • Complete the RapidPass online before you donate to save time at the blood donation location. This contains the pre-donation packet reading and health history questions donors need to complete.
  • Bring some music or reading when you donate. It only takes 8-10 minutes to do the actual blood donation but having something to do can help pass the time, especially if you are nervous.

Knowing these things, I plan to go back again soon to see if I can donate. I hope my story encourages you to donate as well.

Blood Drive, Fairfax, Virginia 2018

Currently, there is an urgent need for blood due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Right now, eligible and healthy donors are strongly urged to make an appointment to give soon. To schedule an appointment and for information on enhanced blood donation safety related to Coronavirus, visit: https://www.redcrossblood.org.

For those who can’t donate, the Red Cross offers volunteer opportunities to support  blood drives. You can learn more about these at: https://www.redcross.org/local/ohio/northeast/volunteer.html.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Northeast Ohio Region weekend disaster report: March 13-15, 2020

By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

March 16, 2020- While residents in Northeast Ohio were taking precautions to remain safe from the coronavirus, members of the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio Disaster Action Team were assisting residents facing the worst day of their lives, as disasters do not adhere to social distancing measures.

During the weekend of March 13-15, the DAT team responded to disasters in four of the five chapters of the Northeast Ohio Region, with disasters occurring in Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Erie, Lake, Richland, Stark and Trumbull counties.

The Red Cross assisted 32 adults, 29 children and provided $12,460 in immediate financial assistance.

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While we all take extraordinary steps to contain the coronavirus, the Red Cross is asking all healthy individuals to donate blood, to help maintain the nation’s blood supply as blood drives across the country continue to be cancelled.

Over the last few days, we have seen blood drive cancellations grow at an alarming rate. Through March 13, about 1,500 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to coronavirus concerns, resulting in some 46,000 fewer blood donations. We expect that number to rise.

We understand why people may be hesitant to come out for a blood drive, but want to reassure the public that we are taking additional precautions to ensure the safety of our donors and staff.

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

We are checking the temperature of staff and donors before entering a drive to make sure they are healthy. Hand sanitizers are available for use before entering the drive, as well as throughout the donation process. We are also spacing beds, where possible, to follow social distancing practices between blood donors.

Red Cross employees follow strict safety procedures, including wearing gloves and changing them often, wiping down all donor-touched surfaces and equipment and preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub.

A blood shortage could impact patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients suffering from cancer. One of the most important things you can do to ensure we don’t have another health care crisis on top of the coronavirus is to give blood.

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If you are healthy, feeling well and eligible to give blood or platelets, please make an appointment to donate as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Healthy blood donors needed amid coronavirus concerns

March 11, 2020- With confirmed coronavirus disease cases in Northeast Ohio and the state of Ohio declaring a state of emergency, and with schools across the region closed and events postponed due to precautions, the American Red Cross strongly urges healthy, eligible individuals who are feeling well to give blood or platelets to help maintain a sufficient blood supply and prevent shortages as concerns about the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, rise in the U.S.

Cold and flu season has already impacted the nation’s ability to maintain its blood supply. As the number of coronavirus cases grows in the U.S., the number of people eligible to give blood for patients in need could decrease further.

“We’re asking the American people to help keep the blood supply stable during this challenging time. As communities across the country prepare for this public health emergency, it’s critical that plans include a readily available blood supply for hospital patients,” said Chris Hrouda, president, Red Cross Blood Services. “As fears of coronavirus rise, low donor participation could harm blood availability at hospitals, and the last thing a patient should worry about is whether lifesaving blood will be on the shelf when they need it most.”

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Donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood. There are no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmissible by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases worldwide of transmissions for any respiratory virus, including this coronavirus, from a transfusion.

The Red Cross only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation – and who meet other eligibility requirements, available at RedCrossBlood.org. At each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees follow thorough safety protocols including wearing gloves, routinely wiping down donor-touched areas, using sterile collection sets for every donation, and preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub. These mitigation measures will help ensure blood recipient safety, as well as staff and donor safety in reducing contact with those who may potentially have this respiratory infection.

Blood drive hosts play important role
Blood drive hosts also play a critical role in maintaining a sufficient blood supply and are asked to keep hosting blood drives for patients who rely on lifesaving blood. The need for blood is constant, and volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need of transfusions.

The Red Cross, with the help of its blood drive hosts and blood donors, can help ensure the safety and availability of the U.S. blood supply for patients including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.

“Keep giving, keep hosting blood drives,” said Hrouda. “Patients across the country need our help.”

To learn more about hosting a blood drive for patients in need, please visit RedCrossBlood.org.

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Red Cross committed to blood supply safety

The top priority of the Red Cross is the safety of our valued staff, blood donors and blood recipients, and we are committed to transparency with the American public during this evolving public health emergency. There are no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmissible by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases worldwide of transmissions for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus, from a transfusion.

Nonetheless, the Red Cross has implemented new blood donation deferrals out of an abundance of caution. Individuals are asked to postpone their donation for 28 days following:

  • Travel to China and its special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Iran, Italy and South Korea;
  • Diagnosis of COVID-19, contact with a person who has or is suspected to have the virus.

As the situation evolves, the Red Cross will continue to evaluate all emerging risks in collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and industry partners to determine if additional intervention strategies are needed. Together, we stand ready to keep the American public informed and prepared.

Blood donation process

A blood donation takes about an hour from start to finish, but the actual donation itself only takes about 8-10 minutes. Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.