NOTRE DAME FRESHMAN JACK HUFFMAN COMES FROM DONOR FAMILY, BUT IS FIRST TO GIVE COVID PLASMA

Tipp City donor Jack Huffman is a Chaminade Julienne High School graduate and a freshman at the University of Notre Dame who just finished a fall semester full of surprises. The latest came with his Nov. 25, Thanksgiving Eve donation at Community Blood Center.

 It’s no surprise that Jack is a blood donor because he is the youngest in a family of donors, with his dad State Senator Steve Huffman leading the way. But Jack is now the first in his family to donate COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma.

Like many college students, Jack was exposed to the coronavirus soon after beginning classes. “It was in October,” he said. “My roommate tested positive. I had a cough, I went and got tested and was negative, but I was positive for strep. Two days later I tested positive for strep and COVID.”

Next came his time under quarantine in a motel the university had set up for COVID-positive students. He could keep up with his classes online, but it wasn’t easy. “I was super tired and had a headache the whole time,” he said. “I was lazy. You’re in a motel room by yourself. It’s hard to get work done.”

Jack’s workload isn’t easy. He’s a bio-chemistry major and pre-med, with plans to follow his dad and siblings into medicine. Steve Huffman is an emergency room physician who sponsored the legislation for January Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month.  Steve encouraged Jack to donate convalescent plasma.

“I was excited,” said Jack. “I wanted to get my test results and be here. I heard there was definitely a need to donate and a need for plasma donors. It takes 50 minutes and can save a life.”

Despite the disruptions of the pandemic, he has enjoyed the experience of freshman year, including Fighting Irish football.

 “It’s a lot different being at school,” he said. “You would ordinarily be inside with your professors, instead you’re usually hanging out outside. They set up fire pits and hanging lights around campus.”

 “I was happy just to be there,” he said. “But when we got football, it was, Alright!” 

Jack was an athlete at CJ and won a CBC Lead The Way scholarship for his blood drive campaign “Be Part of a Winning Team, Give Blood.”  It featured a t-shirt with a team jersey design.

He missed only one Notre Dame football game when he was in quarantine. He was in the stands for Notre Dame’s overtime win over Clemson and was part of the crowd that rushed the field.

“I felt bad,” he said. “I already had had COVID, and I wore a face mask. It was exciting to be there!”

The Crisis Warrior t-shirt he received for donating CCP is very much an Irish green.

Jack made three whole blood donations in high school and with CCP now has four lifetime donations.  He’s home for holiday break from Thanksgiving until early February.  Recovered COVID-19 survivors like Jack can donate convalescent plasma once a week and Jack hopes to donate often.

“It takes very little of my time,” he said, “and makes a much bigger difference in someone else’s life.”

THANKSGIVING WILL BE SMALL, BUT GRATITUDE IS GREAT AT URBANA BLOOD DRIVE

URBANA, Ohio – Champaign County donors gave thanks and gave to help others at the Nov. 25 community blood drive, held during a very different Thanksgiving week of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday marked the beginning of a new monthly Community Blood Center blood drive schedule at the Champaign County Community Center that will also include COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP) donations to aid critically ill coronavirus patients.

The Tuesday blood drive totaled 18 donors, including five first-time donors.  The Champaign County community will host the next monthly blood drive during Christmas week on Dec. 23.

The holidays season and the arrival of winter present traditional challenges to the regional blood supply. The challenge is far greater this year due to the pandemic. Many businesses and high schools blood drives have cancelled or are at reduced capacity.  The surge in coronavirus hospitalizations has created peak demand for convalescent plasma.

The season of giving inspired the Jacob family from Massillon. Kathryn Jacob said they gathered in Urbana for a modest Thanksgiving with her brother and his girlfriend Sarah Westerman.

“We’re seeing each other for Thanksgiving,” said Kathryn.  “She was signed up for today and we thought we’d all do it. There were spots open, so we did. My mom, my dad, my brother – three of us are first-time donors.”

After donating, the family lingered together over a cookie and juice Thanksgiving snack. “It was a new experience!” said Kathryn’s dad Robert.

The blood drive offered a new experience for Shannan Harrington Rader from Urbana who donated platelets for the first time.

“I’ve donated for years and decided to try a different donation,” she said. “I donate in honor of my dad, who donated blood and I decided to give platelets. I was always curious, ‘I wonder what they’re doing over there?’ and now I know!”

Platelets are the blood cells that help the blood clot. Shannon’s donation will be vital for treating cancer patients and trauma victims.

West Liberty donor Cindee Boyd has seen firsthand how blood products save lives in times of great need.  Doctors called it a miracle when her husband Scott survived a farming accident in August of 2016. In a series of emergency surgeries, he received 108 units of blood, plasma and platelets.

Neighbors rallied to donate at the “Iron Man” blood drives held in his name. Cindee dedicated herself to helping Scott recover, and donating blood. She began donating platelets in 2019 and made her milestone 25th lifetime donation Tuesday.

“I started giving platelets because of cancer patients and trauma patients,” said Cindee.  She serves as the Village of West Liberty clerk and treasurer, and in June lost a co-worker to cancer. “We worked together 17 years,” she said.

Scott has made steady progress in the four years since his accident. “He’s fantastic,” said Cindee. “He’s lifting weights again. He can drive again, but not too far.”

Scott struggles with short-term memory, a consequence of the traumatic blood loss he suffered while caught in the jaws of the bush hog he was operating.  The loss of his spleen was one of many internal injuries. Without it, he is more vulnerable to infection.

“We have to watch for flu and colds and now COVID,” she said. “Cuts, scrapes, anything like that tend to get infected more.”

As for many families this year, the Boyd family Thanksgiving gathering will be limited, celebrated only with seventh-grade son Noah and daughter Chelsea from Columbus.  But as always, their gratitude will be great.

“Our Thanksgiving will be small,” said Cindee. “But he’s out on his bike again. He’s doing really well since then.”

‘PAY BACK FOR BOOTS’ AT ST. REMY HALL COVID-19 PLASMA DRIVE

RUSSIA, Ohio – Barb Cordonnier knew her family was among many in the Russia community exposed to COVID-19 after an outbreak in early fall.  After her 90-year-old mother Suzanne “Boots” Groff survived the coronavirus with the help of convalescent plasma, Barb was inspired to organize Shelby County’s first COVID-19 plasma drive Nov. 23 at St. Remy’s Hall and to fill all appointments.

Despite the pandemic, St. Remy’s Hall has continued to host its two traditional community blood drives. The new plasma drive on Nov. 23 drive was exclusively for convalescent plasma collection and totaled eight donors.

Each plasma donation is commonly divided into three doses and sent immediately to Community Blood Center’s partner hospitals. Most are experiencing a surge in coronavirus patients and are in urgent need of convalescent plasma.

Barb started having allergy-like symptoms in early October. When she tested positive for COVID-19 her first concern was for her mother. “I stayed in the parking lot and called my mom,” she said.

Doctors at first diagnosed bronchitis, but then her mother’s COVID-19 test came back. “They called and said, ‘Your positive. We need to put you in the hospital,’” said Barb. “She was there a full week. They said we’re going to give you Remdesivir and convalescent plasma. Less than 48 hours after that first dose, what a difference in her voice it made. She was not a 100% but she got to come home.”

Barb called CBC account representative Dana Puterbaugh to cancel a whole blood appointment because of her recent coronavirus infection. “I told her about my mom and said it would be nice to be able to pay that back with a convalescent plasma drive,” said Barb. “She helped me get it on the schedule.”

Her next step was to spread the word on social media and personally reach out to neighbors she knew had also survived COVID-19.

“I was hoping people would want to help, and obviously they did,” she said. “I don’t think it took us 24 hours to get appointments filled or people saying they would.”

Barb’s personal approach worked easily with first-time donor Zachery Bell, a Wright State University student. “She knew I had COVID, we’re neighbors, said Zachery. “She told my mom and my mom told her I’m doing it! I’m not opposed to it.”

Russia middle school teacher Elizabeth Knapke was also a first-time donor. “Barb reached out to me,” Elizabeth said. “I knew the story about her mom and thought it would be a good thing to do.”

Russia donor Katherine Tompkin came to donate with her daughter Lauren Monnin, a Sinclair College student.  Like Barb, multiple members of their family had COVID-19 and they wanted to support the Russia plasma drive. “It’s convenient coming here,” said Katherine.

Convalescent plasma donor Derron Wilson tested positive in late August. “I had a mild fever and was coughing and sleeping all the time,” said Derron. “All I did was sleep for nine days.”

He was determined to donate at the Russia plasma drive because his daughter is a young nurse on the front line of the pandemic.

“My daughter works at Miami Valley Hospital in the COVID ward,” said Derron. “Her knowing the patients, I didn’t think there was any other choice.”

MIAMI COMPLETES TUMULTUOUS FALL WITH FIRST ‘CRISIS WARRIOR’ BLOOD DRIVE

OXFORD, Ohio – Miami University seniors Samantha and Alexandria Stambaugh are twin sisters who spend a lot of time together. They study together, they caught COVID-19 together, and on Nov. 19 in the Armstrong Student Center “Crisis Warrior Blood Drive” they donated COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma together.

The Stambaugh sisters were among the 80 students and staff members who came to donate at the fourth and final Community Blood Center blood drive of a tumultuous fall semester.

Despite a COVID-19 outbreak and the interruption of in-person classes, Miami’s fall blood drives totaled 489 donors, including 349 donations and 257 first-time donors for 114% of collection goal.

Thursday also marked the first CBC “Crisis Warrior” COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma drive at Miami.  The twin Stambaugh sisters were among 11 students, recovered from COVID-19, who donated convalescent plasma for the treatment of critically ill coronavirus patients.  Thirty-one made whole blood donations and 25 students were first-time donors.

Samantha is a business major from Defiance, Ohio. She said she was exposed to COVID-19 at the end of August. “School was still online but I was here in my apartment,” she said. “I don’t know where I got it, but I gave it to my sister. She gave plasma too.”

“It was marginal,” Samantha said about her illness. “I lost my sense of taste and smell. That was probably the weirdest part.”  She said her sister learned about the “Crisis Warrior” blood drive and sent her a link to sign-up.

“I feel there are a lot of people who need the antibodies,” she said. “I have a high number of antibodies, so I wanted to come back.  I’m just doing my part.”

Christian Carrier is a senior pre-med student from Naperville, Illinois who donated convalescent plasma for his first lifetime donation. He learned about the “Crisis Warrior” blood drive from his pre-med advisory group.

“I had it the end of August,” he said. “I had symptoms for four days. It wasn’t terrible. Luckily, I didn’t lose my taste or smell. I had fever, a sore throat and body aches. I always wanted to donate but never did. Even if I wasn’t pre-med, I would still want to do it. It’s my way I can help.”

Freshman Joe Morgan was quarantined for exposure to someone with the coronavirus but tested negative. He donated whole blood Thursday in what he felt was a positive way to end his first semester on a college campus.

“We’re not coming back,” he said about Miami’s revised holiday break. “We have finals online after Thanksgiving break, and then we’re on Christmas break until late January.”

Joshua Prieto made his first convalescent plasma donation. He’ll spend Thanksgiving in Oxford as an extra precaution before returning home to Evanston, Illinois. He learned about the “Crisis Warrior” blood drive from his fraternity brothers at Alpha Epsilon Pi.

“One of my brothers stressed the importance of it, since I already had the antibodies,” said Joshua. “I saw the opportunity and it’s ‘Why not?’”

The Greeks made Miami the birthplace of CBC college blood drives with the first Greek Week Blood Drive in 1978. Up until the pandemic, it was CBC’s largest blood drive. Miami remains CBC’s longest-standing blood drive partner and is now one CBC’s newest “Crisis Warrior” partners in the fight against COVID-19.

“I look at our fall 2020 blood drive totals,” said Sandy Baur, CBC’s account representative for Miami, “and I say, ‘Not bad for being in a pandemic.’”

‘GIVE TOGETHER FRIDAY’ BEGINS CHALLENGIN HOLIDAY SEASON FOR BLOOD SUPPLY

DAYTON, Ohio – The challenge to the blood supply with the COVID-19 pandemic complicating the holiday season is upon us.  Community Blood Center needs donors of all kinds to strengthen the Thanksgiving blood supply, and donors began answering the call at the “Give Together Friday Blood Drive” Nov. 20.

Everyone who registered to donate Friday at the Dayton CBC Donation Center got a gift package including a Kroger $10 gift card, a McDonald’s sandwich coupon sponsored by Dayton McDonald’s owner Debbie Wright, the “Together We Give” face mask, Blood Donor scarf, and a full-size candy bar.

“It was my regular time to donate!” said Germantown donor Robyn Swenson who graciously displayed the CBC Thanksgiving theme gift bags.

Clayton donor Billy Anderson wore his Purdue University gear, where his son has coached football, to make his 74th lifetime donation. Billy has his eye on reaching 100 donations and earning his “Donor for Life – 100 LTD” jacket. “I’m looking for that jacket!” said Billy. “It may take me three years. I don’t have nothing but time!”

Billy’s timing is perfect because CBC faces the unique challenge of the pandemic this holiday season.  CBC launches the “Thanks for Giving Blood Drive” Monday with $10 Kroger gift cards to donors through the holiday week for registered donors at the Dayton CBC Donation Center.  CBC is closed for Thanksgiving Day and mobile blood drive activity is limited during the holiday week, creating a challenge to maintaining the blood supply.

DONATE THROUGH HOLIDAY WEEK AT CBC ‘THANKS FOR GIVING BLOOD DRIVE’

DAYTON, Ohio – Community Blood Center is asking donors to keep the blood supply strong through the Thanksgiving holiday week by supporting the “Thanks for Giving Blood Drive” Monday, Nov. 23 through Saturday, Nov. 28 at the Dayton CBC Donor Center, 349 S. Main St.  

Maintaining the blood supply is a challenge because CBC is closed for Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26 and mobile blood drive activity is limited. Everyone who registers to donate at the Dayton CBC will receive a $10 Kroger gift card, “Together We Give” face mask and Blood Donor scarf.  Make an appointment at www.DonorTime.com or call (937) 461-3220.

Giving Blood is Essential:

Community Blood Center is reminding the public that donating blood and holding blood drives are essential activities to the public health and are exempt from the “Stay at Home Health Advisory” issued by the Montgomery County Board of Health.

Crisis Warriors Needed:

CBC is making an urgent plea for COVID-19 survivors to donate COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma for the treatment of critically ill coronavirus patients. All registered CCP donors receive a $25 Kroger gift card and the “COVID-19 Crisis Warrior” t-shirt. Potential CCP donors must have tested positive for COVID-19 by the RNA swab test or antibody blood test and must be free of all symptoms for 14 days. First-time convalescent plasma donors must have proof of positive test and should register at www.GivingBlood.org or call (937) 461-3220. If you have previously donated convalescent plasma with CBC please make an appointment at www.DonorTime.com or call (937) 461-3220.

Donate COVID-19 Plasma on Sundays:

To expand capacity for convalescent plasma donations CBC is now scheduling CCP donations on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Dayton CBC Donation Center, 349 S. Main St. Because of the immediate need, CCP donors are now permitted to donate once per week.

CBC BLOOD DRIVES ARE ESSENTIAL & REMAIN ON SCHEDULE

DAYTON, Ohio – Community Blood Center is reminding the public that donating blood and holding blood drives are essential activities to the public health and are exempt from the “Stay at Home Health Advisory” issued Nov. 18 by the Montgomery County Board of Health.

The advisory is for all of Montgomery County and is effective immediately through Dec. 17. It advises residents to stay at home to the greatest extent possible due to the significant increase in local COVID-19 cases. The Ohio Department of Health and the Department of Homeland Security identify blood collection as essential work and donating blood as an essential activity. 

The CBC Donation Center is operating on its normal schedule and all CBC blood drives, including Montgomery County blood drives, are expected to take place on schedule.

Throughout the pandemic CBC has maintained a high level of safety assurances for donors and staff at all blood drive locations by enforcing precautions that include mandatory mask wearing, temperature check, social distancing, sanitary procedures, and mandatory appointment scheduling.

CBC calls on all eligible donors to continue to help prevent the public health crisis of COVID-19 from causing the public health crisis of a blood shortage. Schedule a blood donation appointment at www.DonorTime.com, register to donate COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma at www.GivingBlood.org, or call (937) 461-3220.

BLOOD DRIVE, COVID PLASMA DONATIONS BRING OUT THE BEST OF VERSAILLES

VERSAILLES, Ohio – The annual Midmark and Versailles High School National Honor Society blood drive has always brought out the best of Versailles, combining the town’s patriarch employer with a new generation of leaders in community service.  The Nov. 16 blood drive at the Knight of Columbus Hall carried on through the COVID-19 pandemic, and broke new ground.

Midmark Corporation is a traditional sponsor of the NHS blood drive, but it is now sponsoring multiple employee-community blood drives that are part of a new monthly rotation at the KOC.  In addition, Monday’s blood drive was the first in the area to offer the opportunity for COVID-19 survivors to donate convalescent plasma for coronavirus patients.

The blood drive registered 80 donors, including 14 platelet and plasma donors and three convalescent plasma donors.  All three were donating convalescent plasma for the first time. It was the first lifetime blood donation for Versailles donor Jan Berger.

“I got the COVID, and my daughter told me about the need for plasma,” said Jan. “It was to save somebody else’s life. I definitely wanted to do it.”

She tried to register for a CCP donation at the St. Remy’s Hall blood drive in Russia, but all appointments were filled.  She was happy to learn she could donate in her hometown. “They told me Versailles was doing it also and I said ‘awesome’ and called right away.”

Jan said her COVID-19 infection happened in August and she was ill for about 10 days. “Mostly it was bad headaches,” she said. “My head hurt so bad.” Her husband was also infected and was ill for 14 days.

“I wanted to be able to give,” she said. “I know it can be very severe. I have a friend in the hospital right now.”

Whole blood donors Monday included Tony Bruns from Versailles who made his 132nd lifetime donation. Tony began donating 45 years ago when his wife first battled cancer. “That’s how I first started,” he said. He lost her to a brain cancer 22 years ago. “I kept giving. I’m always here.”

Morgan Rinderle is a senior at Versaille High who volunteers at the school blood drives and is a regular donor at the KOC blood drives. She made her sixth lifetime donation Monday.

Morgan is in the school band, bowling team, and is a mascot. She’s trying to have as normal a senior year as possible during a pandemic.

“We’ve been in class since school started,” she said. “It’s normal, except at lunch you can only have four people at a table instead of the usual eight to 10!”

Janet Lutham has donated at Versailles KOC blood drives over the years and made her first CCP donation Monday. She thought she was suffering from allergies in August, but an antibody test later confirmed it was COVID-19.

“I thought I had allergies, but by the end of the week I couldn’t smell, taste was zero!” she said. “I thought, oh my gosh, I thought I had allergies. I really did not get sick. If it wasn’t for the loss of taste, I would not have realized I had it.”

She went through some anxious days, waiting for a negative test results to come back just in time to confirm that she could attend her son’s wedding.  Her last blood donation was in September and she scheduled a CCP donation for when she was again eligible.

“I would have done whole blood if that’s what was needed,” said Janet. “But because of COVID, and having the antibodies, that’s why I chose it.”

‘GIVE TOGETHER’ FRIDAY TO MEET DEMAND FOR BLOOD, COVID PLASMA

DAYTON, Ohio – Community Blood Center needs donors of all kinds to strengthen the Thanksgiving blood supply and to help area hospitals meet the overwhelming demand for COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP).  CBC is offering special incentives for all donors who support the Friday, Nov. 20 “Give Together Blood Drive” at the Dayton CBC Donation Center and for COVID-19 survivors who become “Crisis Warriors” by donating plasma.

Everyone who registers to donate Friday, Nov. 20 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Dayton CBC Donation Center gets a gift package including a Kroger $10 gift card, a McDonald’s sandwich coupon sponsored by Dayton McDonald’s owner Debbie Wright, the “Together We Give” face mask, Blood Donor scarf, and a full-size candy bar. Make an appointment at www.DonorTime.com or call (937) 461-3220.

CBC is making an urgent plea for COVID-19 survivors to donate convalescent plasma. Come to the Dayton CBC Donation Center or any CCP mobile blood drive with proof of a positive COVID-19 test, register to donate CCP at www.GivingBlood.org or call (937) 461-3220 and receive a $25 Kroger gift card and the “COVID-19 Crisis Warrior” t-shirt.

To expand capacity for convalescent plasma donations CBC is now scheduling CCP donations on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Dayton CBC Donation Center, 349 S. Main St.

“Our hospitals need more than 50 units of CCP per day and that takes at least 20 donors per day,” said Diane Wilson, chief operating officer for Community Blood Center/Community Tissue Services. “We do not have enough convalescent plasma and the demand is risking. We are calling on you, our local community to meet this need, and the time to help is now.”

Area convalescent plasma usage is the highest since CBC launched Ohio’s first CCP collection program in early April. CBC remains in critical need of CCP donations in all blood types. CBC is now testing all blood donors for COVID-19 antibodies with the goal of identifying more potential CCP donors.

Potential CCP donors must have tested positive for COVID-19 by the RNA test or tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies by blood test and must be completely recovered. Because of the immediate need, CCP donors are now permitted to donate once per week with a maximum of eight donations in three months.

CBC is also seeking sponsors for CCP blood drives, particularly in areas that experienced outbreaks of COVID-19 and have access to qualified CCP donors. Call (937) 461-3220 to learn how to help.

CBC CALLS ON VIRUS SURVIVORS TO GIVE PLASMA DURING NOV. 16-21 COVID WARRIOR WEEK

DAYTON, Ohio – Community Blood Center is making an urgent plea for COVID-19 survivors to donate plasma during “COVID Warrior Week,” Nov. 16-21 to help area hospitals meet the overwhelming demand for COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP).

Come to the Dayton CBC Donation Center or any CBC mobile blood drive Monday, Nov. 16 through Saturday, Nov. 21 with proof of a positive COVID-19 test and receive a $25 Kroger gift card for registering to donate COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma that day or for scheduling a CCP appointment during your visit. CCP donors also receive the “COVID-19 Crisis Warrior” t-shirt.

Learn more about CCP at www.GivingBlood.org or call (937) 461-3220.

“Our hospitals need more than 50 units of CCP per day and that takes at least 20 donors per day,” said Diane Wilson, chief operating officer for Community Blood Center/Community Tissue Services. “We’re falling short, and the demand keeps rising.  We do not have enough convalescent plasma. We are calling on you, our local community to meet this need, and the time to help is now.”

Area convalescent plasma usage reached an all-time last week with the highest number of CCP transfusions since CBC launched Ohio’s first CCP collection program in early April. CBC remains in critical need of CCP units in all blood types.

The antibody-rich plasma from people who have recovered from the coronavirus is vital for the treatment of critically ill COVID-19 patients. CBC is now testing all blood donors for COVID-19 antibodies with the hope this will help identify more people eligible to donate convalescent plasma.

Potential CCP donors must have tested positive for COVID-19 by the RNA test or tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies by blood test and must be completely recovered.

Because of the immediate need, CCP donors are now permitted to donate once per week with a maximum of eight donations in three months.

CBC is also seeking sponsors for CCP blood drives, particularly in areas that experienced outbreaks of COVID-19 and have access to qualified CCP donors. Call (937) 461-3220 to learn how to help.