Eighty-plus years of lifesaving blood collections-happy birthday Dr. Drew

Plus an opportunity this weekend to do your part

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

Responsible for providing approximately 40% of the nation’s blood supply, the American Red Cross is always concerned with maintaining a wide variety of blood types as well as blood derivatives such as plasma and platelets. With constant demand, the Red Cross aims to provide a well-stocked, diverse blood donor bank at all times.

A pioneer in blood preservation

As World War II began in 1939, Dr. Charles Drew, an African American doctor was a General Education Board Fellow in surgery at Columbia University in New York City. There, he studied blood preservation, and developed techniques for preserving plasma, a crucial blood component often given to trauma patients and burn victims.

Dr. Drew’s Columbia dissertation had direct implications on the transportation and storage of blood during World War II. Dr. Drew’s dissertation included details for establishing the experimental blood bank at the Presbyterian Hospital. He described the processes of drawing blood, typing donors and identifying the indications for transfusion. He compiled both donor and recipient statistics as well as the types of adverse reactions to transfusion. Many of these processes are still in use today.

In 1940, the American Red Cross and its partners launched “Blood for Britain”. They planned to ship large quantities of plasma to England to help heal those wounded during the Blitz. “Blood for Britain” chose Dr. Drew to lead the project as its medical director.

In January 1941, Dr. Drew was named the first medical director of the American Red Cross Blood Services. He oversaw the first blood drives using bloodmobiles — refrigerated trucks serving as donation centers. The drives were a success, even though it was still quite uncommon for people to give blood for unknown recipients and without compensation. Bloodmobiles are still in use today by the Red Cross and other blood collection organizations for blood drives across the US.

Dr. Charles Drew was born on this date, June 3rd, in 1904.

Blood collection today

Four Red Cross blood donation centers operate year-round in Northern Ohio:

  • Warzel Donation Center; 3747 Euclid Avenue; Cleveland, 44115
  • Parma Donation Center; 5585 Pearl Road; Parma, 44129
  • Akron Donation Center; 501 West Market Street; Akron, 44303
  • Toledo Donation Center; 3510 Executive Parkway; Toledo, 43606

In addition, remote collection sites occur all during the year across Northern Ohio.  A list of sites can be found here. Merely type in your zip code and select the best time and date for your appointment. 

One of those blood donor events will be Saturday, June 5th, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at University Circle United Methodist Church (a.k.a. the  Church at the Circle), 1919 East 107th Street, Cleveland, OH 44106. The Red Cross will be having their blood drive in the Great Hall (lower level – elevator accessible.) Donors will receive a $10 Amazon gift card by email and a free Red Cross T-shirt while supplies last. Go to RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS (800-733-2767) to check for available appointment times.

Building a blood supply as diverse as the community it serves

Just as people have different hair or eye color and come in all shapes and sizes, they also have different blood types. While most blood types fall into one of the four major groups: A, B, AB and O, some people have rare blood types. Because of their rare blood types, these patients need a more diverse blood supply.

Red blood cells carry markers called antigens that determine one’s blood type. There are more than 600 known antigens, some that are unique to specific racial or ethnic groups. For example, U-negative and Duffy-negative blood types are two types unique to the African American community. When treating patients who have these rare types, blood from donors of the same ethnic background is less likely to cause complications.

November 22, 2020. Portsmouth, Virginia. Grove Church Blood Drive 2020. Photos by Jared Beasley/American Red Cross

This is especially important for patients who have chronic blood disorders that require regular blood transfusions. Glinda Dames-Fincher, of Mayfield Heights, has lived with sickle cell disease for more than 60 years. Sickle cell disease is the most common genetic blood disease in the U.S. and it largely affects those of African and Latino descent. It causes red blood cells to be hard and crescent-shaped instead of soft and round. As a result, blood has difficulty flowing smoothly and carrying oxygen to the rest of the body. Blood transfusion is a known treatment for patients with sickle cell disease.

“As part of my treatment, I receive monthly red cell exchange transfusions. I receive two pints of red blood cells during each of these transfusions,” said Dames-Fincher. “I have received regular blood transfusions for the last 20 years to help manage my sickle cell disease. Without donated blood, sickle cell patients face sickle cell crisis, and other complications such as strokes, organ failure, chronic wounds, and shortened lifespan.”

The need for blood is constant and all eligible donors are encouraged to give and help meet the need. Whether blood is needed for a chronic condition, such as sickle cell disease, a surgical procedure or a large-scale emergency, it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps save lives.

To find a blood drive near you and make an appointment, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App. Visit Red Cross Blood & Diversity to learn more about the need for diverse blood donors.

Solon Community Center leads the way in hosting blood drives

Other hosts needed to serve vital role during challenging times

By Olivia Wyles, American Red Cross volunteer

One of the first things that comes to mind when someone mentions the American Red Cross is blood drives — and rightly so, as the Red Cross provides about 40% of the entire nation’s blood and blood components. However, only about 3% of age-eligible individuals donate blood on an annual basis. Unfortunately, that number has dropped even further in the last year due in part to a lack of blood drive sponsors.

You may recall having the opportunity to donate blood when you were in school. But the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many schools and businesses no longer being able to host blood drives as more and more locations close and/or restrict access to their facilities. Furthermore, finding spaces that are large enough to host Red Cross blood drives while accommodating social distancing has been a challenge. This is a major barrier for the Red Cross, as our blood drive hosts play an absolutely critical role in maintaining a sufficient blood supply by providing opportunities for people to give to others in their local community. More than 80% of the total blood donations are made at blood drives hosted by our volunteers. Our blood drive hosts play an absolutely vital role in helping the Red Cross ensure that blood is available for patients in over 2,500 hospitals throughout the nation.

Solon Community Center has stood out as a leader for not only continuing to host blood drives over the past year, but for even adding additional blood drives to its schedule. Solon Community Center has been a partner of the Red Cross since 2004. Even amidst the pandemic, it was able to collect 1,095 pints of blood in 2020, which has the ability to help save up to 3,285 lives. The persistent dedication of Solon Community Center staff to host blood drives, combined with the constant support of its local blood donors, have served as an exemplary model for other current and potential blood drive hosts who can also advance the Red Cross mission to provide lifesaving blood for those who need it.

Health and safety is a priority for the Red Cross. All of our blood drive hosts follow the highest standards of safety and infection control while we do our jobs. Some of these protocols include temperature checks for both staff and donors prior to entering a blood drive, mandatory face masks, easily-accessible hand sanitizer at every step of the donation process, and social distancing wherever possible. Lastly, we also urge donors to schedule appointments prior to arrival to ensure that we can manage the flow of donors at blood drives.

So what are you waiting for? Your organization or company could be our next blood drive host and help the Red Cross bring lifesaving resources to those who greatly need them. For those interested in hosting a blood drive, please visit https://www.redcrossblood.org/hosting-a-blood-drive/learn-about-hosting/why-host-a-blood-drive.html.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Be the Lifeline Patients Need This Holiday Season – Give Blood!

Read on for a list of blood drives in Northern Ohio

By Christy Peters, Regional External Communications Manager, American Red Cross

December 9, 2020- Without volunteer blood donors, patients would not have the lifesaving treatments they need. The American Red Cross is urging the community to donate blood and be the lifeline patients need this holiday season.

The traditional slump in blood donations between Thanksgiving and New Year’s comes as the blood supply already faces challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic. Required medical treatments and emergencies don’t pause for the holidays or a widespread coronavirus outbreak. Blood, platelet and plasma donors are urged to give now to help avoid delays in lifesaving medical care for patients.

All who come to give Dec. 18-Jan. 4 will receive a Red Cross long-sleeved T-shirt, while supplies last. Join us at one of several holiday blood drives happening in northern Ohio and give the gift of life this holiday season

May 29, 2020. Rockville, Maryland. Whole blood donor Gloria Thornton. Photo by Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross

All who come to give Dec. 18-Jan. 4 will receive a Red Cross long-sleeved T-shirt, while supplies last. Join us at one of several holiday blood drives happening in northern Ohio and give the gift of life this holiday season:

Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020

Holiday Bazaar Blood Drive

Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center

1360 W. Mall Dr., Cleveland, 44114

8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 18, 2020

Holiday Blood Drive

Market Square at Crocker Park

239 Market St., Westlake, 44145

10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Monday & Tuesday, Dec. 21 & 22, 2020

Holiday Blood Drive

Sheraton Suites Akron/Cuyahoga Falls

1989 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls, 44221

Monday: 1 p.m.-7 p.m.

Tuesday: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020

WNWO Holiday Blood Drive

Hilton Garden Inn Perrysburg

6165 Levis Commons, Perrysburg, 43551

7 a.m.-6 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020

Mahoning Valley Holiday Blood Drives

Stambaugh Auditorium, 1000 5th Ave., Youngstown

Packard Music Hall, 1703 Mahoning Ave., Warren

9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2020

Give From the Heart Blood Drive

Cleveland Marriott East

26300 Harvard Road, Warrensville Heights, 44122

7 a.m.-7 p.m.

The Red Cross is testing blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies. As part of this effort, plasma from standard blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. Donors are required to wear a face covering or mask while at blood drives, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance. We are grateful to our philanthropic partners, including The Thomases Family Endowment of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, for supporting our COVID-19 antibody testing program.

Download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment and for more information about any of the drives listed here.

Give something that truly means something this holiday season- Give blood!

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

December 16, 2019- The American Red Cross urgently needs donors of all blood types to donate blood or platelets and be the lifeline patients need this holiday season.

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

The need for blood doesn’t take a holiday.

This holiday season there are thousands of patients who will be in the hospital instead of enjoying holiday parties, finishing their shopping or preparing for family gatherings. They’re counting on blood and platelet donors for their treatments.

Blood bank Campaign ceremony 2017

But a decline in donations occurs from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day when donors are busy with holiday activities and travel. Donors of all blood types, especially platelet donors and those with type O blood, are urgently needed to ensure a sufficient supply for patients.

Blood Donation in Murray, Utah 2014

Join the Red Cross at one of several holiday blood drives happening in northeast Ohio and help save lives this holiday season:

Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019

Cuyahoga Falls Holiday Blood Drive

Sheraton Suites Akron/Cuyahoga Falls

1989 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls, 44221

7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Blood Drive

The Atrium

1 Center Court, Cleveland, 44115

8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 20, 2019

Mahoning Valley Holiday Blood Drive

Stambaugh Auditorium, 1000 5th Ave., Youngstown

Packard Music Hall, 1703 Mahoning Ave., Warren

9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 23, 2019

Hilton Garden Inn Twinsburg Holiday Blood Drive

8971 Wilcox Dr., Twinsburg, 44087

7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020

Landerhaven Blood Drive

Executive Caterers at Landerhaven

6111 Landerhaven Dr., Mayfield Heights, 44124

7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Bloodmobile Blood Drive Columbia, South Carolina 2018

During the season of giving, please make time to give the gift of life. Appointments can be made 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.

New Facebook and Alexa features help boost blood donations

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

October 23, 2019- The American Red Cross has partnered with some of the country’s leading technology brands to make donating blood even easier. Now, blood donors can find blood drives and schedule appointments using Facebook and Alexa devices.

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

In June, the Red Cross, along with other blood collection organizations, partnered with Facebook to help raise awareness about the critical need for blood donors. Facebook’s new Blood Donations feature makes it easier to find opportunities to donate – allowing users to sign up to be blood donors, receive notifications about nearby blood drives and invite friends to help save lives too. Since launching, more than one million people in the U.S. have signed up and it has helped to schedule over 600 Red Cross blood donation appointments.

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

To make it easier for people to access services and get critical safety information, the Red Cross is also partnering with Alexa, Amazon’s voice service. The Red Cross Blood scheduling skill for Amazon Alexa helps users schedule a blood donation appointment, find blood drives nearby and get notification reminders before an appointment. Users can enable this skill and link their Red Cross account to manage appointments. Donors can open the Red Cross Blood skill with a selection of prompts such as, “Alexa, open Red Cross Blood skill,” and ask, for example, “Alexa, find a blood drive.”

Bloodmobile Blood Drive Columbia, South Carolina 2018

Individuals interested in signing up to become a blood donor on Facebook can visit facebook.com/donateblood. The Red Cross Blood skill for Alexa is available on any Alexa-enabled device such as Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show or Echo Spot. The skills can be enabled in the Alexa Skills Store through the Alexa app or at Amazon.com.

Blood Drive New York 2018

The Northern Ohio Blood Services Region of the Red Cross serves 19 counties in northern Ohio and needs to collect approximately 500 pints of blood every day to meet the needs of patients at more than 50 local hospitals. Without the generous giving of volunteer blood donors, that need cannot be met.

Resolve to save a life

By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio. Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer. 

2019 is already a week old and your New Year’s resolution may not be going as planned. Instead of feeling bad about another missed opportunity, the American Red Cross has a resolution that is not only easy to keep but will make you feel equally good: Resolve to save a life.

Blood Drive, Fairfax, Virginia 2018January is National Blood Donor Month. If you have never given blood before or it has been a while, it is the perfect time to become a blood donor.

In the United States, there is someone who needs blood every two seconds. Unfortunately, of the 38 percent of the population who is eligible to donate, less than 10 percent actually donate.

To make it easier to donate blood this month, the Red Cross is hosting over 350 blood drives across Northeast Ohio from today until the end of January, ensuring there is a blood drive close to you. To find a scheduled blood drive, visit RedCrossBlood.org to search by zip code and prepare for your donation.

If you cannot attend any of the scheduled blood drives, the Red Cross has several donation centers in Northeast Ohio. For those in the Greater Cleveland area interested in giving blood and donating platelets, the Red Cross has blood donation centers in Cleveland and Parma.

The Warzel Blood Donation Center is located at the Regional Headquarters on 3747 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland and is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday.Blood Drive, Fairfax, Virginia 2018

The Parma Donation Center is located on 5585 Pearl Avenue and is open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday to Sunday

The Red Cross also has a donation center in our Akron office and a donation center in Mansfield.

Here are some helpful facts as you prepare to take the next steps to donate today:

  • The average person has about 10 to 12 pints of blood in his or her body.
  • There are four blood groups: A, B, AB and O.
  • Red cells, which contain hemoglobin, carry oxygen throughout the blood and give blood its red color, are used to treat trauma or surgery patients.
  • Platelets helps prevent massive blood loss by helping blood clot and is used to treat cancer patients, organ transplant patients and surgery patients.
  • You can donate blood every 56 days and you can donate platelets up to 24 times per year.
  • You must be at least 17 years old to donate. In Ohio, you can donate blood if you are 16 years old and have written parental consent.
  • You must weigh at least 110 pounds. Additional weight requirements apply
    for donors 18 years old and younger and all high school donors.
  • From beginning to end, the blood donation process takes about one hour and 15 minutes to donate blood and three hours to donate platelets.
  • The Red Cross does not charge for the blood itself, but does recoup the many costs associated with the donation process.
  • After you donate, you can enjoy juice and cookies in the refreshment area and think about the difference you’ve made!

Blood Donation 2018

Visit RedCrossBlood.org today to sign up to donate. This is a journey you can start this new year and resolve to continue every 56 days.

Blood drive volunteer serves as ambassador inspiring others to volunteer and give lifesaving blood

By Ifat Gazia, American Red Cross Volunteer
Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross Volunteer

 

Mariann Pete1A 77-year-old American Red Cross volunteer from Ashtabula, Ohio, Mariann Pete likes to help people and be there for them during their emergencies. Marianne started volunteering seven years ago with her primary duties focused on managing blood donors at Ashtabula County Medical Center (ACMC) in Ashtabula County. An inspiration for people of all ages who consider volunteering part-time, Mariann has volunteered since 2002 two to three times every month with her weekly hours ranging between four to five.

In 1980, Mariann’s son needed expensive blood transfusions. Her friend became a donor. “It was my friend who came forward to donate his blood to my son. Transfusions at that time would have been otherwise unaffordable for me,” she said.

While reflecting on her volunteering experiences, Mariann added, “The practice of volunteering is very rewarding, allowing me to meet different people as well who come to ACMC hospital for their blood transfusions or donations. It is a good thing that I get to interact with all of them. The staff is also nice in the hospital and over the years I [have gotten] to know most of the people working there.”

Photos by Paul Wadowick, American Red Cross volunteer

“Mariann Pete is very well-known and respected by all in her community,” said Tara Dragon, Red Cross Account Manager. “She welcomes all donors with a loving, caring smile, volunteering with all of her heart.  She is a great help to myself and to the American Red Cross in making a difference in her community, and to the lives of recipients and donors.  I want thank Mariann personally for all that she does.”

Other than volunteering at ACMC on a routine basis where she registers the donors and sometimes manages the canteen, Mariann also volunteers at blood drives in different schools and churches in and around Ashtabula County.

There is a critical need for blood donor ambassadors like Mariann in Ashtabula County, and for blood donors throughout Northeast Ohio to help replenish the lifesaving supply during the severe blood shortage currently being experienced. Their efforts are vital as the Red Cross heads into the difficult holiday blood collection season. Visit redcross.org/neo for more information and to complete a volunteer application.  And to make a blood donation appointment, visit redcrossblood.org

 

 

 

Festive Canfield Fair Offers Volunteers Opportunities and Fun

By Karen Conklin, Executive Director of the American Red Cross Lake to River Chapter
Photos by Mary Williams/American Red Cross

IMG_1618 (1)

Who remembers the Lennon Sisters? How about Journey? “Don’t stop believing!” Are you a Band Perry fan? Do you enjoy Toby Keith? These artists have all entertained at the Canfield Fair! Toby Keith will once again perform on Sept. 3 at this year’s fair.

The Canfield Fair (Mahoning County) is the largest county fair in Ohio. More than 350,000 visitors will come through the gates from Aug. 29 through Labor Day. At the Lake to River Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Canfield Fair is a big deal. We’ve been smelling those french fries and hot sausage sandwiches for weeks. Over 437 vendors participate in the fair and, by the way, parking is always free.

IMG_1654For decades, the Red Cross has played an important role at the fair. Each day the blood mobile is there collecting lifesaving blood. In the medical building, board members and volunteers staff our booth, where we pass out smoke alarm application forms. We work in three-hour shifts. Most help at our booth, then take in the sights, sounds and, of course, the food. Our volunteers get free tickets to the fair! We may have some shifts available.IMG_1681

Another important service we provide—and have been for the past half-century—is the first aid station. This is such an important part of IMG_1626the fair that 20 years ago, the Canfield Fair Board constructed a Red Cross building, where onsite care is provided. They also built a secondary site on the opposite side of the fairgrounds. Certified Red Cross volunteers help scribe (keep records)  and do minor triage for fair injuries that are overseen by a doctor. EMS plays a part, transporting the injured via golf carts to immediate help. Ambulances (and even a helicopter) are a call away if needed. Historically, the most frequent fair injuries have been bee stings, animal bites and blisters. So if you attend, wear comfortable shoes, don’t stick your hands in the animals’ stalls and do eat lots of yummy fair food. Who cares about the calories?

IMG_1625

Since 1846 the Canfield Fair has been serving up fun times and great memories. If you are interested in volunteering, call our office at 330-392-2551 and ask for Vickie. If you’re not yet a volunteer, visit our website and click the “Volunteer” tab at the top of the page to start the process.

The ABCs of Donating A, B, A/B and O

What All Donors Need To Know Before Rolling Up Their Sleeves

By Christy Peters, External Communications Manager, Biomedical Services

The need for lifesaving blood and platelets is constant. In fact, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion. And your contribution is important for a stable and reliable blood supply. But before you schedule your appointment to donate blood, here is information to ensure you’re prepared for a successful donation.

To donate blood, you must be:

  • At least 17 years-old in most states, or 16 years-old with parental consent if allowed by state law (such as Ohio).
  • You must weigh at least 110 pounds
  • You must be in good general health and feeling well on the day of your donation.

Prior to your blood donation, make sure you drink plenty of water and eat a healthy meal. When you come to give, you will also be asked to show a donor card, driver’s license, or other form(s) of ID.

The entire blood donation process takes about an hour from start to finish. It consists of :

  • Registration
  • A mini-physical
  • The actual donation
  • Refreshments!

The actual blood donation takes about 8-10 minutes and you will donate one pint of blood (the average person has 10-12 pints). Your one pint consists of three components, red blood cells, platelets and plasma and each one can be given to a different patient based on their need. With each blood donation you have the potential to help save up to three lives!

Join the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross and make an appointment now to give blood. Download the free Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).