Husband and wife make convalescent plasma donation a family affair

By Sue Wilson, American Red Cross volunteer

August 28, 2020- You may have heard the term “convalescent plasma” as a potential treatment for COVID-19 (coronavirus) and are curious about it.

Simply put, convalescent plasma comes from patients who have recovered from the coronavirus. Plasma is the part of blood that remains after red and white blood cells are removed. It is rich in proteins and antibodies. Hospitals and research labs around the country are working to see if these antibodies can help the immune system fight COVID-19.

The American Red Cross has been collecting convalescent plasma from donors throughout the country who have recovered from COVID-19 for months. But this week, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization for convalescent plasma as a treatment for COVID-19 research.

“The donation process on-site was effortless for me and hopefully, my plasma will help others,”

Ron Baumberger

In Northeast Ohio, husband and wife Ron and Elinor Baumberger are answering the call to donate convalescent plasma after they both recovered from COVID-19. Ron donated this past Friday, and Elinor plans to donate next week.

Ron is no stranger to serving his community. Upon his retirement in 2013 after 32 years with Sherwin-Williams, he immediately joined the Red Cross volunteer team as a Disaster Action Team member and is now the Region Logistics Lead. During his time with the Red Cross, Ron has responded to over 200 local fires, flooding, helped at shelters and warming centers, and provided a host of other services. It’s no surprise that after years of donating his time and talent to the Red Cross, that when he and his wife Elinor came down with COVID-19, they would also want to donate their plasma once fully recovered. 

Ron and Elinor Baumberger

Ron considers himself lucky that he and his wife both had mild cases of COVID-19 that did not require hospitalization. They believe Elinor contracted the virus in January before it became widely known in the medical community. In June, the Red Cross began testing donated blood for COVID-19 antibodies. In July, Elinor donated blood, which tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies. 

In May, Ron came down with symptoms similar to Elinor’s. “I thought I was suffering from allergies or a sinus infection,” said Ron. “I found out I was exposed (through Elinore) to COVID-19 and started to identify my symptoms as fatigue, a minor sore throat, and loss of taste and smell.” His test came back positive. “Elinor had a worse case of it. But now, we have fully recovered with no post-illness symptoms.” 

“The donation process was quite simple,” Ron explained. “I registered from home, received a phone call to qualify me, selected my time and date, and the rest is history!” 

Ron said the entire process took about 90 minutes. “They explained the process, hooked me up and away we went! They continued to check on me periodically and answered any questions I had.” 

The Red Cross supplies close to 40% of the nation’s blood supply and is always in need of donors, but the pandemic has made the need especially dire. To learn more about blood donation or to find a blood drive or donation center near you, click HERE. The Red Cross is testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies, and if your blood tests positive you may have the unique opportunity to help patients fighting the disease. Click here to learn more about convalescent plasma donations.

“The donation process on-site was effortless for me and hopefully, my plasma will help others,” said Ron.

Those who have received a verified  COVID-19 diagnosis, have fully recovered and have been symptom free for at least 14 days are urged to sign up to give convalescent plasma by completing the donor information form HERE.

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

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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.

COVID-19 convalescent plasma donor bio: Jillian O’Donnell

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

May 13, 2020- Jillian O’Donnell lives in Columbus where she works as a registered nurse. She enjoys spending time with her family and taking her dog to fun places around the city. In March, Jillian experienced the sudden onset loss of her taste and smell. After talking with her sister, she discovered this was a new symptom being reported by COVID-19 patients. Because she is an essential worker, she decided to get tested before returning to work. Her test came back positive on March 25.

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Jillian O’Donnell

In coordination with the FDA, the Red Cross is seeking people who are fully recovered from the new coronavirus to sign up to donate plasma to help current COVID-19 patients. According to Jillian, when she heard about the process of giving convalescent plasma, it was a no-brainer to find out how and when she could donate. Jillian traveled two hours from Columbus to make her donation at an American Red Cross donation center in Akron, Ohio.

“As a nurse that works on a COVID-19 isolation unit, I have seen firsthand how this virus has negatively affected individuals,” said Jillian. “I am beyond thankful that I had very mild symptoms that I managed at home, on my own. I know that is not the case for many others.”

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People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus. This convalescent plasma is being evaluated as treatment for patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections, or those judged by a healthcare provider to be at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease.

“We are blessed to be survivors of this terrible virus and not everyone has that opportunity,” said Jillian. “Everyone deserves a fighting chance against this virus and donating plasma can give patients the opportunity to do that!”

Last week, two more convalescent plasma donor patients gave plasma to help others at our Akron blood donor center: Jane Krivos and Josh Nathaniel.

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Jane Krivos

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Josh Nathaniel

To participate, individuals must meet all regular blood donation requirements as well as others. To learn more and complete a donor request form, please visit www.RedCrossBlood.org/plasma4covid.

Photo credit: Eric Alves/American Red Cross