First time donor gives blood to aid with shortage

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

March 25, 2020- The COVID-19 outbreak is all anyone can talk about in Northeast Ohio. Beyond the immediate health emergency, the virus is threatening to create additional future public health emergencies due to the current blood shortage.

As of March 23, about 7,000 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to coronavirus concerns, resulting in more than 200,000 fewer blood donations. This is why the Red Cross is asking all healthy and eligible individuals to donate lifesaving blood.

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Jenna Ostrowski with Regional CEO Mike Parks

On March 20, the Cleveland Clinic lent a helping hand to put an end to the blood shortage by opening their doors to host a much needed blood drive.

One of the donors present at the blood drive was Jenna Ostrowski, a medical technologist in the Automated Hematology Department. This moment was a milestone for Jenna, as she was a first time blood donor, who was motivated to take the leap to officially become a blood donor due to the need following the outbreak.

“I figured now is the time, since so many people need blood. It’s a good opportunity for caregivers since the drive is right here at the Clinic,” stated Jenna.

Red Cross of Northeast Ohio Regional CEO Mike Parks was present at the blood drive, thanking Cleveland Clinic President Tomislav Mihaljevic for opening the Cleveland Clinic’s doors to host the blood drive and to thank donors like Jenna for giving the gift of life.

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Tomislav Mihaljevic speaking with Mike Parks

Everyone at the Red Cross understands why people may be hesitant to come out for a blood drive, but we want to assure the public that we are taking additional precautions to ensure the safety of our donors, volunteers and staff.

Volunteers and staff are checking the temperature of  everyone before they enter a drive to make sure they are healthy. Hand sanitizer is 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.

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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.

If you are a first-time donor, like Jenna, click here to learn some helpful best practices.

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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).

To view more photos from the Cleveland Clinic blood drive, visit the Northeast Ohio Region Flickr page.

Give Thanks by Giving Blood

Community urged to help patients in need across Northeast Ohio

By Christy Peters, External Communications Manager, Biomedical Services

Before the holidays are in full swing, the American Red Cross is reminding the community about the constant need for blood. Blood and platelet donations decline from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day as people get busy with holiday activities and travel. However, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.

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The Red Cross invites the community to share their good health and give patients in need another reason to be thankful this year. The Red Cross and Cleveland Clinic are partnering for a Holiday Blood Drive Friday, Nov. 24, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at La Centre Banquet and Conference Facility in Westlake. All who come to donate will receive a Red Cross gift, be entered in several raffles for prizes and enjoy a light meal.

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Photo credit: Mary Williams/American Red Cross Staff Member

Donors with all blood types are currently needed. Those with types O, A negative and B negative blood are encouraged to make a Power Red donation at this blood drive. Power Red donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, allowing them to maximize their impact.

To schedule an appointment to donate, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org and enter code “CCF”,  or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). For more information about the Cleveland Clinic Holiday Blood Drive, click here.