BLOOD DONOR MONTH PROFILE: PLASMA DONORS HELP ANNETTE JOHNSON ‘GO BACK IN THE WORLD & BE LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE’

DAYTON, Ohio – Annette Johnson is a retired kindergarten teacher who has received a plasma infusion every four weeks since she was diagnosed with primary immunodeficiency in 2016. She thanks blood donors for helping her “go back in the world” and spend precious time with her kinder crew.”

“If people didn’t do this, I would have had to stop teaching,” she said. “For teachers, it isn’t just a job. It is who you are. When we get up in the morning you’re going to your classroom, you’re going to be there for your kids.”

Annette spent 25 years with Sidney City Schools, taught at four different schools, and retired in December 2021 from Emerson Primary. “It was hard to leave,” she said, but it was time.

“There was something that was not right,” she said. Four months after retiring she was diagnosed with cancer and underwent a partial mastectomy followed by radiation treatment. “I would have been gone a long time. I couldn’t be the kind of teacher my students need.”

She is thankful her cancer was caught early, and for her plasma treatments. “Being able to face the cancer and know my immune system is not going to be a problem makes me more of a typical patient,” she said.

She considers it a miracle that her teaching career did not end years earlier. From September 2015 to January 2016, she spent 39 days in and out of the hospital. Blood tests revealed her immune system deficiency.

“I started infusions and have not been back to the hospital for that since then,” said Annette. “It was like flicking a switch for me. I’m like people who get sick and can fight off infection like everyone else. For me it was that dramatic.”

Every four weeks she spends about five hours receiving treatment. “The plasma infusions never stop,” she said. “It’s even more important. A few years ago, there was a shortage and there was a concern there wouldn’t be enough. It’s scary to think that I’m not going to get my infusion this month. I always have to have it.”

Like her fellow teaches, she weathered the challenges of the pandemic, remote teaching during lock-downs with the message, “I’m missing my kinder crew,” and carefully avoiding COVID infection. She rejoiced with the return of in-person teaching.

“By helping me you’re helping my students by letting me teach a little longer,” was her message to donors. “I was able to be back in my class and be back with my kids. When you donate plasma, you’re able to keep me in the classroom so I can take care of my students.”

She now devotes her time to a new grandson, and in helping others. “I feel compelled to volunteer at the Foodbank,” she said. “When I see people who are being helped it makes it more important, I show up and do what I can.”

Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood that maintains blood pressure and supplies critical proteins for blood clotting and immunity. Plasma donations commonly goes to trauma and burn patient, but is especially vital for treating people with chronic conditions like Annette’s.

“I was just grateful to keep teaching as long as I did,” she said. “Plasma donations aren’t always going for a surgery or an accident. There are people getting it so they can go on.

“It doesn’t cancel my life. People who donate plasma helped me go back in the world and be like everybody else.”

WEST ALEX DONOR, BLOOD DRIVE COORDINATOR MINDY SUE JONES VANNATTER WINS BENGALS WILDCARD GAME TICKETS

DAYTON, Ohio – The NFL’s Wildcard Weekend was especially wild for West Alexandria blood donor Mindy Sue Jones Vannatter.

It began with donating Saturday morning at the blood drive she coordinates at Eaton First Church of God and winning the Community Blood Center drawing for a pair of Bengals playoff tickets. It ended Sunday night at Paycor Stadium with Mindy and her husband Matthew watching fireworks explode after a dramatic Bengals win.

Everyone who registered to donate with CBC Jan. 7-14 was entered in the ticket drawing. It totaled 2,296 whole blood, platelet and plasma donors, including 158 first time donors. The Eaton blood drive came on the final day, and Mindy entered the drawing when she made a double red donation that morning.

Mindy coordinates two CBC blood drives per year at Eaton First Church of God. She held the first Vincent Jones Memorial Blood Drive in August 2016 after losing her first husband to leukemia. It was to thank blood donors for helping Vincent live long enough to see the birth of their second son Jeremiah. She has coordinated the January blood drive at the church since 2018.

SHE GOT THE BEATS! FRANKLIN HIGH DRUMMER REBEKAH STOVER WINS DECEMBER HEADPHONES DRAWING

FRANKLIN, Ohio – Franklin High senior Rebekah Stover really does have the beats. She is a percussionist in the marching and concert bands and beats the drum loudly for the cause of blood donations.

Rebekah is also the winner of the December drawing for a pair of Beats headphones in the Community Blood Center “Get Loud! Rock & Roll Up Your Sleeve & Donate Blood” high school blood drive campaign.

All high school donors are entered into the monthly Beats drawing when they register to donate at their high school blood drive. Rebekah made her fourth lifetime donation at the Dec. 8 Franklin High blood drive and helped it total 58 donors, including 26 first time donors.

Rebekah made her first donation when she was age 16 and now donates “every change I get” at Franklin High or the Atrium Medical Center community blood drive.

“My mom’s a nurse and she talked to me about helping other people,” said Rebekah. “It’s not hurting me and it’s helping others.”

Rebekah has been accepted at the Ohio State University and plans to study law. She will celebrate her 18th birthday on Feb. 8 and considers the Beats the perfect gift.

“Absolutely,” she said. “I wanted a pair for my birthday so thank you!”

“We’re definitely thrilled that one of students won,” said Kelly Rolfes, blood drive co-coordinator and National Honor Society co-advisor with Emily Rudy. “We’re happy to do it in general, but really happy to have a student win.”

The NHS is collecting items for a gift basket drawing at the next Franklin High blood drive on Feb. 10.

Student donor dedication was outstanding in December, despite fewer blood drives because of the busy time of year and the long holiday break. The 21 high school blood drives in December totaled 946 donors, including 432 first time donors.

There will be new drawings to win Beats headphones every month of the school year.

FIRST STOP IS SPRINGFIELD AS NEW CBC BLOODMOBILE HITS THE ROAD

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – Community Blood Center rolled out a brand-new Bloodmobile Jan. 18 and its first stop was Springfield for the Clark County Combined Health District community blood drive.

It was a fresh start for the Bloodmobile and the blood drive. The Clark County Combined Health District has been a CBC sponsor since 2007 but it’s most recent blood drive was in 2011.  CCCHD assistant health commissioner Chris Cook is the blood drive coordinator and is working with CBC account manager Chelsea Roberts to schedule three per year.

The blood drive exceeded its goal with 30 donors, including nine first time donors.

CCCHD nursing supervisor Sandy Miller helped schedule donors at previous blood drives and was one of the first to donate on the new Bloodmobile. “It’s a nice one!” she said. “Very nice and everybody is very friendly!”

The new Bloodmobile is designed by Freightliner. The interior is brilliant white with a faux wood grain flooring. It has four cushioned donor beds with electronic height adjustment. There are two soundproof screening rooms and a small “office” space for donor check-in.

“I think it’s great,” said CCCHD Creating Healthy Communities coordinator Ashley Seibert. “Very comfortable. It’s my first time on a bus; It’s pretty nice.”

Another special feature is a roomy bench area in the front of the bus that serves as a “Donor Café” for juice and cookies after donating.

“It looks a little more spacious,” said donor Sandra Gueth. “The walkway seems wider.”

“Pretty nice, pretty nice,” said Springfield donor Mark Bobo, who made his 105th lifetime donation and frequently supports the monthly blood drives at Maiden Lane and First Christin Church. “A good stick is most important to me. Anytime I’ve been at one of these it’s always been enjoyable.”

The exterior of the bus is gleaming white and will remain that way for a time. The new Bloodmobile was needed for immediate service, but eventually will get a wrapping with blood center colors and logo.

January is National and Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month. Make an appointment to donate online at www.DonorTime.com, call (937) 461-3220, or use the new Donor Time app.

NEW MONTHLY CBC MERCER HEALTH BLOOD DRIVE IS ALL IN THE FAMILY

COLDWATER, Ohio – The new monthly community blood drive at Mercer County Community Hospital kicked off Jan. 17 with 67 donors, the highest turn out since Community Blood Center began supplying blood products and hosting blood drives with Mercer Health in 2022.

The first monthly blood drive was a new opportunity for hospital staff members, dressed in their Mercer Health scrubs, to fill the schedule and the donor beds. CBC celebrated with an open house and gift cards for all donors.

“Really? Every month!” said housekeeper Diane Stevens. “I like donating here. This is more family here!”

It was Diane’s third donation with Community Blood Center, which hosted three blood drives at Mercer County Community Hospital last year and two at Community Medical Center in Celina.

Tuesday’s 67 donors topped 104% of collection goal and included 51 donations and 39 first time donors with CBC.  All donors are welcome to add their history of previous blood donations to their record with CBC.

Tuesday’s blood drive nearly equaled the total of 76 donors who registered at all three of CBC blood drives at the hospital last year. The two CBC blood drives in Celina totaled 52 donors.

“I would like to hone in on the community because we are tight-knit community,” said Mercer Health Lab Director Kate Will, who coordinates the Mercer Health blood drives with CBC account manager Donna Kueterman.

“We enjoy the fact that we’re about neighbors helping neighbors. We really want to help our patients, and this is one of the best places to do that.”

St. Henry donor John Fullenkamp was the first to sign up for Tuesday’s blood drive, and the first community member to donate. He combined his donor history with CBC and now has 104 lifetime donations.

“I started with Community Blood Center when I gave COVID plasma,” said John, who is retired after a 30-year career teaching English at Fort Loramie High School. “That was a few years ago. Now I give every couple of months, Ansonia, Versailles, Do Good Ministry, and here.

“I like the closeness. This is right around the corner.”

The new schedule of every third Tuesday of the month with the same hours of 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. is especially convenient for hospital staff members.

“On weekends, we don’t have a full staff, and you obviously can’t get down here because you’re working,” said radiology worker Erin Kremer. “I was able to come down today.”

“I stated donating in high school,” said pharmacy staff member Emma Gasson. “I found out about this from the email. I believe in donating blood. It’s one of the things I like doing to give back.”

Janice Evans learned about the blood drive on Tuesday and donated after completing her shift in the nutrition department. “I always give blood,” she said. “I like to help people.”

“I like it because I made an appointment and it was quick,” said Maria Stein donor Tracy Mescher, who made her first donation with CBC at the hospital blood drive.

Blood drive coordinator Kate Will believes convenience is important to all donors. “The word will spread,” she said.

Community Medical Center in Celina will host a CBC blood drive Jan. 30 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The next Mercer County Community Hospital monthly blood drive is Feb. 21 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Everyone who registers to donate will receive the “Give Blood, Give Love” long-sleeve, hoody t-shirt. Make an appointment online at www.DonorTime.com, call (937) 461-3220, or use the new Donor Time app.

JANUARY BLOOD DONOR MONTH PROFILE: ‘THE LITTLE THINGS THAT MATTERED’ IN THE LIFE OF TONY MANTIA

DAYTON, Ohio – A tragic accident in childhood is never out of mind for Fairborn donor Tony Mantia. A handshake with a stranger can be an awkward reminder. He focuses instead on how a life-altering injury became an affirmation of why he is a blood donor.

“I said I need to give back somehow, and I’ll keep giving blood because that’s what I can do,” Tony said. “I want to give back because someone made this exact decision 20 years ago.”

Tony is a Wright State University graduate who works as software trainer at Reynolds & Reynolds. He grew up in Canal Winchester, southeast of Columbus. A mower accident at age seven helped shape the man he is today.

“You’re a kid, from a country family, living on a farm,” he said.  “I was sitting on top, straddling the top. My sister was on it with me, riding around like we had dozens of times. One day, hit a bad bump and went over the mower, fell over the front and the mower went over the arm.

“The ambulance showed up. I don’t have a ton of memories from that day. But I remember on the ambulance ride the guy was really nice. I went into shock because of the pain and passed out.”

Multiple transfusions bought time as doctors worked to save his arm.

“Several. It was an excessive amount because half my arm was missing,” he said. “They wanted to cut my arm off and cauterize it to stop the bleeding. My parents said, ‘No. Keep the arm and keep giving him blood.’ I was grateful for that because I still have use of that arm.”

Tony spent weeks in the hospital undergoing skin graft surgeries. He remembers the kindness of a nurse who made a special trip to get him a mushroom pizza.

His dad encouraged him to start a lawn mower business in high school, “as a redemption story,” he said. “It was harder on him then it was on me. He said this would be cool way to turn this thing meant for evil for good.

“It was an opportunity to take something and make it right – that took my arm from me and turn it into something good.”

He first donated at his high school in Lancaster and learned his AB-negative is rare, represented by less than one percent of the population. Because of donors, enough was on hand that day when his need was great.

“People always say, ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff,’” said Tony. “But it’s the little things in life that keep the darkness at bay.

“When I donate, I think about a little kid out there that needs blood. That kid in the ambulance that needed a teddy bear. My donating is in reaction to that kindness. It’s not the big things, it’s the little things that matter.”

CBC CELEBRATES SUPER BOWL LVII WITH 57 PRIZES FOR BLOOD DONORS

DAYTON, Ohio – ​ Celebrate the coming of Super Bowl LVII with a blood donation and get a chance to be one of 57 donors to win a $50 gift card.

Everyone who registers to donate Jan. 16 thru Jan. 31 at any Community Blood Center blood drive, or the Dayton CBC Donation Center, is automatically entered in the Super Bowl gift card drawing.  There will be 57 winners, and each will choose a $50 gift card.

Everyone who registers to donate will also receive the special edition “Give Blood, Give Love” long-sleeve, hoodie t-shirt. Make an appointment at www.DonorTime.com, call (937) 461-3220, or use the Donor Time app.

CBC is in low supply of type O and B negative blood. Meeting this demand and strengthening the winter supply is the mission of January National and Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month.

Blood Donor Awareness Month was proclaimed nationally in 1969 and designated in Ohio in 2018 to thank donors and encourage more donations during the winter months when the holidays, severe weather, and seasonal illness create multiple challenges to maintaining a sufficient blood supply.

UNITY AWARD GIVES HELPING HAND TO WEST CARROLLTON HIGH PIRATE PACKS

WEST CARROLLTON, Ohio – Friendly rivals West Carrollton and Miamisburg High Schools completed their ninth annual Unity in the Community Campaign as heroes to patients in need of blood and to a charity that helps classmates who might go hungry.

The schools presented the $1,000 Unity Award sponsored by Universal 1 Credit Union to “Pirates Packs” at halftime of the Jan. 7 WCHS vs. MHS men’s basketball game. Jon Lewallen accepted the award on behalf of Pirate Packs.

Since 2012 Pirate Packs has been helping at-risk children have food for the weekend. It now serves students in all seven West Carrollton district schools who receive free or reduced lunches and breakfast at school. The goal is to keep children sufficiently fed through the weekend and ready to learn on Monday.

Helping a local charity is fundamental to the Unity Campaign. West Carrollton High and rival Miamisburg High held the first the Unity in the Community Campaign in 2014 in partnership with Community Blood Center and Universal 1 Credit Union.

Each year the traditional rivals host fall blood drives and alternate choosing a charity to receive the $1,000 Unity Award. Last year Miamisburg dedicated the award to their traditional charity CARE House, a community advocacy center for victims of abuse and neglect.

Miamisburg High began the 2022-2023 Unity Campaign with its Nov. 11, 2022 blood drive. It registered 136 donors and was the third biggest CBC high school blood drive of the fall semester. West Carrollton held its Unity blood drive Dec. 9, 2022 and totaled 82 donors. The WCHS-MHS Unity campaign combined for 218 donors.

Participating the presentation: West Carrollton student senate advisor and blood drive coordinator PJ Carlisle, West Carrollton student representatives: Peyton Winkler, Aicha Zaida, Breea Ellington, Dalton Kelly, Madelyn Schoenberger; Elyse Smith, Miamisburg Student Body President; Madison Hefelfinger, Miamisburg Student Body Secretary; Ariana Vesgas, Miamisburg Senior Class LT Governor; Ella Anspach, Miamisburg Senior Class Governor; Maya Hourani, Miamisburg Senior Class Secretary; Sam McClain from Universal 1 Credit Union and Donna Teuscher from Community Blood Center.

THE ‘POSITIVE FORCE’ OF HAROLD O’CONNELL IN HIS JANUARY MEMORIAL BLOOD DRIVE

DAYTON, Ohio – Somewhere Harold O’Connell is smiling in appreciation of his old friends and Ohio EPA colleagues who loyally gave blood Jan. 11 at the 12th annual Harold O’Connell Memorial Blood Drive at the Dayton CBC.

In their minds and hearts there is no way to replace Harold. But the mission of the blood drive is to replace the annual units of blood Harold would be donating if he was still alive today.

The blood drive also has the purpose of encouraging blood donations during January Blood Donor Month. Harold was passionate about preserving the environment, running and racing for vitality and fitness, and giving blood to save lives.

He was a strong advocate of each passion and the many he influenced were shaken when he collapsed and died from a heart attack after finishing the Tadmor 10K Road Race at the Taylorsville MetroPark in 2011.

Harold would have been pleased to see his long-time EPA colleague Bob Moore reach 50 lifetime donations with a double red cell donation. Bob proudly received the new “Time Fries When You’re Saving Lives” double-red t-shirt.

“I try to get her twice a year to do double reds,” said Bob, who retired from EPA in 2018. “I’m here for that, for Harold, and the Bengals tickets!”  All donors are entered in the drawing to win Bengals playoff tickets this week. Bob’s donations are all about Harold.

“He was a good due,” said Bob. “He was religious about donating blood. He was such a positive force, a positive person, and fun to be around. He was 6-foot-5, and you ‘looked up’ to him in different ways.”

“This is something I can do to help people out,” said retired EPA colleague Tracy Buchanan who never misses the blood drives for Harold and made her 144th lifetime donation Wednesday. “I miss him every day.”

The blood drive is always a reunion. Tracy chatted with Stephanie Smith, who was a friend and neighbor of Harold’s for more than 20 years.

“I do this every eight weeks  and sometimes I don’t make when the drive is,” said Stephanie as she chatted with her phlebotomist about Harold’s legacy. “I was telling her stories about Harold,” she said. “He was great to my kids. He came out once to put up a basketball net for them.  He said, ‘As long as you’re in the 10% rule, you’re OK. If you only have 10% of the parts left when you’re done, it should work!’”

Harold gave 100% to life and now his friends work hard to give 100% in his honor. Many of his EPA colleagues are retiring, new staff members taking their places never knew Harold, and some still work from home in the “new normal” after COVID-19.  But they remain faithful to their pledge to donate in his place.

CBC ASKS DONORS TO JOIN CRITICAL MISSION OF JANUARY BLOOD DONOR AWARENESS MONTH

DAYTON, Ohio – Thanks to blood donors, more people lived to see the coming of the New Year. Community Blood Center says it needs more donors to reverse the critical shortage of type O and B negative blood and strengthen the winter supply during January National and Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month.

“Your loyalty and commitment helped people in more ways than you can imagine,” said CBC Vice President of Donor Services Tracy Morgan. Your blood went to patients in 30 hospitals across the 18 counties in the CBC region. We’re in critical need for type O and B negative and can’t let up.”

Everyone who registers to donate Jan. 2 through Feb. 25 will receive the special edition “Give Blood, Give Love” long-sleeve, hoodie t-shirt. Make an appointment online at www.DonorTime.com, call (937) 461-3220, or use the new Donor Time app.

National Blood Donor Awareness Month was proclaimed in 1969 to thank donors and encourage more donations during the winter months when the holidays, severe weather and seasonal illness make it difficult to maintain a sufficient blood supply.

Meeting demand for type O blood has been a persistent challenge for CBC throughout the pandemic and especially during the holiday period. Type O and B negative are currently in low supply.

State Sen. Stephen Huffman (R-5th District), an emergency room physician and a life-long blood donor, introduced legislation in 2017 to designate January as Blood Donor Awareness Month in Ohio. It became law in February 2018 and was first celebrated in January 2019.

Sen. Huffman is a type O-negative “Universal Donor” whose blood can be transfused to any patient in need.  He made his 86th lifetime donation Dec. 30 at the Dayton CBC Donation Center.

“Blood donations are essential for life-saving medical procedures,” Sen. Huffman said. “It is easy to take the availability of blood products for granted, but the reality is that countless lives depend on blood donations.

“As a regular blood donor, I was proud to sponsor Ohio Blood Donor Month legislation and I continue to hope it will increase awareness about the importance of giving blood and encourage more donations across the state.”

CBC is a member of America’s Blood Centers, which released a joint statement recognizing donors and encourages more people to give blood.

“We all owe America’s blood donors a debt of gratitude for their selfless generosity. Everyone knows someone whose life has been changed through a blood transfusion,” said Kate Fry, chief executive officer at America’s Blood Centers.

“National Blood Donor Month is an opportunity to recognize the more than 7 people million who donate blood each year, and to encourage more people to become donors and help save lives.”

Fry said all ABC member blood centers applaud the recent action by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to change its eligibility requirements for individuals that were previously deferred from donating blood because they lived, or were stationed, in certain countries outside of the U.S. in the 1980s and 1990s. The blood community welcomes back the hundreds of thousands of individuals now eligible to donate blood, include many of our nation’s veterans.