Blood donor hits goal set 18 years ago

By Tim Poe, Red Cross volunteer

Erin Muzechuk – Photo credit: CynthiaElaine

In April, Erin Muzechuk arrived at an American Red Cross blood drive set up in New Philadelphia’s New Town Mall and accomplished a goal she set 18 years ago, donating 10 gallons of blood.

This journey began when Erin was just 17 and saw a blood drive poster at Buckeye Career Center. She felt it could be a way to help others. Later, she watched a news story about a man donating his 10th gallon, thought she could do that, too, and hoped to inspire others to donate as well.

At age 35, Erin has reached that goal while inspiring many and saving hundreds of lives.

I asked Erin how she felt upon reaching her goal. “I’m happy that I was able to help so many people,” she said. “When I first started donating, I learned that each pint has the potential to help three people! Ten gallons means I helped up to as many of 240 people! I didn’t realize that until recently.”

Erin plans to continue donating blood but does not have another goal in mind.

Erin spoke of her fantastic experiences donating blood and helping people over the last 18 years. She speaks especially fondly of getting to know Jane Jarvis at Union Hospital, part of the Cleveland Clinic, in Dover, Ohio. “She’s a special lady,” Erin recalled of the hospital’s blood drive program leader.

Erin’s First Gallon Award

Erin also spoke highly of her experience with the Red Cross. Her favorite memory is the shock she felt upon being recognized for donating her first gallon when she was 19. She added, “I’m surprised and honored again to hear from the American Red Cross now that I’m 35!”

“We are so thankful for Erin and her commitment to regularly give the gift of life,” said Kim Kroh, Executive Director of the Red Cross of Heartland, Stark and Muskingum Lakes. “Without donors like her, we could not meet the needs of patients across northern Ohio.”

In addition to donating blood, Erin enjoys working at Litty’s Cakes & Cookies in New Philadelphia and spending time with her family and friends, whom she says she loves very much.

For those considering donating blood for the first time, Erin advised, “It’s just a little pinch in the arm, and it doesn’t hurt or take a lot of your time to donate. And you will help save a life!”

If you, too, are inspired by Erin and would like to donate blood, please visit redcrossblood.org.

A Times-Reporter article on Erin’s achievement is here.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, Red Cross volunteer

Down, but not out – Blood supplies are still vulnerable

By Doug Bardwell, Red Cross Volunteer

Last month the blood supply was in “crisis.” This month it’s rated “vulnerable.” Neither of those are optimal – the latter being only incrementally better. Bottom line = we still need everyone to donate if they are able.

Photo Credit: Doug Bardwell, Red Cross Volunteer

With relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, doctors are once again allowing elective surgery. Don’t associate “elective” with just things as tummy tucks and facelifts.

Elective means it can be scheduled in advance instead of being scheduled as an emergency. Some heart surgeries, including bypass and valve surgeries, as well as some cancer surgeries or biopsies are scheduled electively. When elective surgeries are delayed for too long, life-threatening emergencies can occur.

Since issuing its first-ever blood crisis alert, severe winter weather has further complicated efforts to rebuild the Red Cross blood supply. So far in 2022, approximately 600 blood drives have been canceled across the country due to winter storms, forcing nearly 20,000 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected.

Photo Credit: Doug Bardwell, Red Cross Volunteer

Don’t let the supply go back to “crisis” mode – make and keep those appointments. It’s quick and easy to find a location and time near you at redcrossblood.org.

If you have either type O positive or O negative – you are needed most urgently:
o Type O positive is the most transfused blood type and can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type.
o Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations.

Platelet donations are also urgently needed. Platelets are the clotting portion of blood, which must be transfused within five days of donation. Nearly half of all platelet donations are given to patients undergoing cancer treatments.

Need more motivation???

For drives March 1-31: All who come to give blood or platelets will get a $10 e-gift card, thanks to Fanatics, world’s largest collection of officially licensed sports gear.

Plus, donors will also automatically be entered for a chance to win a trip for two to the 2022 MLB® All-Star Game® in Los Angeles, California, when you come to give March 1-31. The package includes two tickets to 2022 MLB® All-Star Saturday, the 2022 Home Run Derby and the 2022 MLB® All-Star Game®, round-trip airfare to Los Angeles, four-night hotel accommodations (July 16-20, 2022), plus a $750 gift card for expenses. Details available at rcblood.org/team.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Red Cross facing severe blood shortage: Donors needed now

The American Red Cross is experiencing a severe blood shortage as the number of trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries rise– and deplete the nation’s blood inventory. Donors of all blood types – especially type O and those giving platelets – are urged to make an appointment to give as soon as possible to prevent further impact to patients.

Right now, hospitals are responding to an atypically high number of traumas and emergency room visits, as well as overdoses and resulting transplants. In comparison to 2019, the Red Cross has seen demand from trauma centers climb by 10% in 2021− more than five times the growth of other facilities that provide blood transfusions.  

The Red Cross Northern Ohio Region appreciates the support of the local media, who have shared our need for blood and encouraged the community to come out now and help overcome the shortage. Read more at the links below:

WKYC – TV
WEWS-TV
WFMJ – TV
WKBN-TV
WNWO-TV
The Canton Repository
The Monroe News
Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune
WFIN Radio

In addition to trauma needs, there is a great hospital demand for blood as people who deferred care during the height of the pandemic present with more advanced disease progression, requiring increased blood transfusions. Over the last three months, the Red Cross has distributed about 75,000 more blood products than expected to meet these needs.

In most cases, those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine can donate. However, knowing the name of the manufacturer of the vaccine they received is important in determining donation eligibility.

Final weeks for COVID-19 antibody testing

As more than a third of Americans have become fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Red Cross is winding down COVID-19 antibody testing for blood, platelet and plasma donations. 

Through June 25, the Red Cross is testing all donations for COVID-19 antibodies. Testing may show possible exposure to the virus or whether a donor has developed an immune response to vaccination. The conclusion of Red Cross antibody testing represents a new, hopeful phase as the nation continues to journey out of this pandemic.  

Thanks to the donors who turned out in Twinsburg at the Cleveland Clinic blood drive on June 16, 2021. Their donations will help alleviate the current blood shortage.

The Red Cross of Northern Ohio hosts around 20 blood drives each day across the 30 counties we serve. Approximately 80 local hospitals in Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown and Toledo depend on us to help meet the blood transfusion needs of patients. Below are several upcoming blood drives across the region. Schedule an appointment to give blood now by using the 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. As a thank-you, those who come to give now through June 30 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Amazon. (Restrictions apply. Additional information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.)  

Cleveland
June 25, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Mentor Civic Arena, 8600 Munson Rd., Mentor
June 28, 1 – 7 p.m., Independence Community Center, 6363 Selig Drive, Independence June 29, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.: Cuyahoga Valley Church, 5055 E. Wallings Rd., Broadview Heights
June 30, Noon – 7 p.m., Avon Isle Park, 37080 Detroit Road, Avon

Akron/Canton
June 28, Noon – 6 p.m., St Paul Lutheran Church, 127 Cherry Road NE, Massillon
June 30, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., United Methodist Church, 1435 E. Main St., Kent
July 1, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium, 2345 4th St., Cuyahoga Falls

Youngstown
June 24, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Stambaugh Auditorium, 1000 Fifth Ave., Youngstown
June 28, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Boardman Public Library, 7680 Glenwood Ave., Boardman
June 30, Noon – 6 p.m., Packard Music Hall, 1703 Mahoning Ave., Warren

Toledo
June 26, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., First Presbyterian Church, 200 East Broadway, Maumee
June 27, 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., Grace Lutheran Church, 4441 Monroe St., Toledo
June 28, 1:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., Fremont VFW, 204 Birchard Ave., Fremont
June 30, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Zoar Lutheran Church, 314 East Indiana, Perrysburg

Northern Ohio has a new, lifesaving bloodmobile

By Tim Poe, American Red Cross volunteer

It may not transform into a spaceship or submarine, but the Northern Ohio region of the American Red Cross has a state-of-the-art, high-tech new bloodmobile to help save lives.

Thanks to the generosity of several sponsors, listed below, the new bloodmobile will collect approximately 28,000 units of blood over the next 10 years. As each unit helps up to three people, that equates to as many as 84,000 patients. These include those who have been in accidents, women giving birth and children with blood disorders.

To help illustrate the importance of bloodmobiles, more than 80% of all blood donations are made at mobile or organization-hosted blood drives. In addition, bloodmobiles are vital in reaching donors near homes, workplaces, schools and community-based locations.

Nationwide, the Red Cross holds more than 500 blood drives each day. Each year, more than 4.5 million units of blood are collected from nearly 2.6 million generous donors. Providing about 40% of the nation’s blood supply, the Red Cross is the single largest supplier of blood and blood products in the U.S.

Vehicles have long been a vital part of the Red Cross’ mission, from the wagon Clara Barton used as an ambulance in 1898, to the current fleet of bloodmobiles, emergency response and other vehicles used to reach those in need.

The new state-of-the-art bloodmobile, based in Cleveland, is 40 feet long and 8.5 feet wide. Designed to provide a safe, convenient and comfortable donor experience, the bloodmobile contains three health history booths where donor eligibility screenings are conducted and five beds where blood is drawn. It features advanced technology, iPads on each donor bed, a canteen and sofa area, climate control and a spacious interior.

The new bloodmobile provides the Red Cross with better access to new and harder-to-reach communities where the most needed blood types can be collected. It also better enables blood donations at corporations, community partners and organizations with limited space.

The new bloodmobile serving Northern Ohio is sponsored by:

  • The Ahuja Foundation
  • The Albert M. Higley Co.
  • Allied Witan Co.
  • Applied Industrial Technologies
  • ArcelorMittal USA
  • BakerHostetler LLP
  • Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.
  • Diebold Foundation
  • DiGeronimo Companies
  • Ernst & Young
  • FirstEnergy Foundation
  • George H. Deuble Foundation
  • The G. R. Lincoln Family Foundation
  • Highland Consulting Associates, Inc.
  • Hylant Group
  • Lincoln Electric Company
  • The Lubrizol Corporation
  • McDonald Hopkins
  • MCPc
  • The MetroHealth Foundation
  • Oatey Company
  • Oswald Companies
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
  • Rockwell Automation
  • Steris Corporation
  • SunTrust
  • The Timken Company
  • The Timken Foundation of Canton
  • United Way of Greater Cleveland
  • Willis Towers Watson
  • WKYC

To help meet the critical need for blood, sign up for a blood drive at a location near you at redcrossblood.org/give or call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Photo credit: Brian Selecky, American Red Cross


A call for blood: Red Cross issues plea for blood and platelet donations

By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio
Photo credit: Jim McIntyre, Regional Communications Manager

The American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage and urgently needs blood and platelet donors to give now to avoid delays in lifesaving medical care for patients. Volunteer blood drive hosts are also critically needed to prevent the shortage from worsening this winter.

IMG_5269

Blood donor Michelle Polinko and Red Cross Collections Technician Willie Muse

Launching an appeal in November is unprecedented for the Red Cross, and everyone is needed to help replenish supplies as we head into a difficult holiday blood collection season.

During September and October, coupled with hurricanes Michael and Florence, the Red Cross collected over 21,000 fewer blood and platelet donations than what hospitals needed. Blood donors of all blood types, especially type O, due to it being a universal donor and for its ability to be used for all blood types, and platelet donors are urged to make an appointment to donate at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Additionally, more than 130 blood drives in Northeast Ohio are needed in December, January and February to help stop the shortage from continuing throughout winter. Donations often decline during the winter holidays when many groups postpone blood drives while regular donors are busy with holiday activities and travel. Severe winter weather may also cause blood drive cancellations contributing to fewer donations than needed.

Only 38 percent of the population is eligible to donate. However, less than 10 percent of those who are eligible actually donate. Time and time again, people state the reason they never considered donating blood was simply because they were never asked. Well Northeast Ohio, consider yourself asked!

IMG_6434

Red Cross blood donor Emily Probst

How to help:

Eligible donors can find a blood or platelet donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass, are encouraged to help speed up the donation process. RapidPass lets donors complete the pre-donation reading and answer the health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, from the convenience of a mobile device or computer, or through the Blood Donor App.

IMG_6405For 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 am to 3 pm on Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and 12 pm to 8 pm Tuesday to Thursday.

The Parma Donation Center is located on 5585 Pearl Avenue and is open from 12 pm to 8 pm Monday to Thursday and 7 am to 3 pm Friday to Sunday.

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

Those interested in hosting a blood drive can learn more and sign up to sponsor a drive this winter, by visiting RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we are thankful for the loyal donors who give the gift of life regularly. 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 4 blood groups: A, B, AB and O.
  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • 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!