First-time blood donor gives to meet nationwide shortage, more donors needed

By Eilene Guy – Red Cross Volunteer

Last Saturday was a red-letter day for me: My husband donated blood for the first time.

Don Guy – First-time blood donor

I’ve nagged the poor man for years to join me, but he always deferred. That seemed odd: He’s generous with his time and talents, he’s a compassionate person and he’s not needle-phobic (that I know of).

“It just wasn’t my thing, but after the years of incessant bugging, the nationwide blood shortage finally tipped the scales,” he admitted with a grin.

Fortunately, the phlebotomist we had at the American Red Cross blood drive was really skillful. I know, because she “stuck” me too.

“If you want to look away, now would be the time,” she said. “A pinch and a little burn,” and the needle was in — – with hardly a pinch a burn. Honest.

Eilene Guy – Blood donor

I have the Red Cross Blood Donor App on my phone and I’m looking forward to seeing where my blood goes. Will it go as a whole blood transfusion? Or will it be separated into the component parts —– plasma, platelets and red blood cells —– to potentially save three lives?

In January, the Red Cross declared a national blood crisis because the blood supply had fallen to the lowest levels in more than a decade amid the latest surge in COVID-19 cases. And severe winter weather forced the cancellation of more than 300 blood drives that month, which added to the emergency.

The crisis is impacting health care nationwide, including right here in northern Ohio. A friend of mine’s heart surgery was delayed until there was enough blood on hand of her individual blood type. Imagine how nerve-wracking that would be.

Apparently the number one reason people don’t donate blood is that they haven’t been asked, so I’ve set myself a winter goal of asking, urging, convincing at least five people to donate blood for the first time. I hope if they do it once, they’ll become repeat donors.

If you’re reading this, consider yourself asked: Please, give donating blood a try. What have you got to lose? And think of what the recipient of that blood has to gain, be they an accident victim, surgery patient, parent undergoing a difficult childbirth, or person with an on-going need, such as someone with cancer or sickle-cell disease.

To find a blood drive near you, go to http://www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS. Be sure to make a reservation: That cuts down on the wait time for all donors and the Red Cross certainly doesn’t want to turn anyone away.

Please, give the gift that can’t be manufactured. There is no substitute for blood, and the only way to collect it is from generous donors.

More than 260 donations made at the Give from the Heart at annual blood drive

For 23 years, the Give from the Heart blood drive has been a lifesaving tradition in Northern Ohio. This year’s event was held last Tuesday, Feb. 8 at the Cleveland Marriott East in Warrensville Heights.

This blood drive came at a vital time, as the Red Cross continues to struggle with a national blood crisis. The current nationwide shortage has been further impacted by winter weather across the country, with about 600 blood drives cancelled forcing 20,000 donations to go uncollected.


Across the Northern Ohio Region, 21 blood drives were cancelled Thursday, February 3 leaving more than 730 donations uncollected.

The more than 260 donations made at the Give from the Heart blood drive will potentially help up to 800 patients.

We encourage donors to make an appointment for future blood drives by visiting redcrossblood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App.

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance.

If you are not able to give blood, the Red Cross also needs blood drive volunteers and blood transportation specialists to support critical blood collections. Blood drive volunteers play an important role by greeting, registering, answering questions and providing information to blood donors throughout the donation process. Blood transportation specialists provide a critical link between blood donors and blood recipients by delivering blood to hospitals our local communities. To learn more and sign-up, visit redcross.org/volunteertoday.

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.