STRONGER TOGETHER AT ‘DONOR STRONG BLOOD DRIVE’

DAYTON, Ohio – The community is “stronger together” in the struggle against COVID-19, especially when we are “Donor Strong.”

Community Blood Center put out a call for action and donors responded by supporting the Friday, May 29 “Donor Strong Blood Drive” at the Dayton CBC Donor Center and helping throughout the week with an immediate need for type O-negative blood.

Type O-negative blood was in short supply following high usage over the Memorial Day weekend. More than 103 donors came to the Dayton CBC Thursday, May 28 and gave 68 blood donations, including 36 units of type O. The need for type O-negative continues, but a severe shortage was averted.

It’s a transitional time as hospitals in the CBC region resume surgical procedures and patient treatments that were paused during the spring and the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. CBC must increase collections as Ohio re-opens and hospitals treat more patients with blood needs. All of this is coupled with the traditional demand that comes as summer gets underway.

The May 22 “Donor Strong Blood Drive” helped prepare for the holiday weekend by totaling 141 donors. One week later, 100 donors responded to help CBC meet the goal of the May 29 “Donor Strong Blood Drive.”

CBC thanked donors by offering the remaining supply of the January Blood Donor Awareness Month “Donor Strong” long-sleeve t-shirt.

Teri Hunley is a loyal platelet donor who makes it a routine to work her overnight shift at the Englewood Walmart, then donate Friday mornings on her way home from work. Walmart remained open as an essential business during the stay-at-home order.

“They cut the hours down, but we were still in there working,” said Teri. She kept up both her work and donation routine with one change.  She now wears a homemade “Ohio State” face mask as she donates.

Louis Huart from Kettering wore the original “Donor Strong” Blood Donor Awareness Month t-shirt to give platelets Friday for his 265th lifetime donation.  “I dug into my shirts and saw it and said that looks good!” said Louis. “It’s always blood donor shirts or Dayton Flyers shirts!”

Centerville’s Grace Thorstenson made her eighth lifetime whole blood donation Friday at the Donor Strong Blood Drive, marking her “one gallon” milestone.  Grace started donating at Alter High School, where she graduated last year.  Her freshman year at Miami University has been turned upside down by COVID-19.

“My dad works at the base and is a blood donor and I’ve donated at Wright-Patt,” said Grace. “When I’m in town I like to come here to donate. Since I was home, I donated here two months ago.”

Like college students everywhere, Grace has been taking virtual classes and working online at home. She hopes to return to the Oxford campus for in-person classes in the fall.

“I’ve heard about going back early in August and being done with the semester by Thanksgiving,” she said. “But nothing official, that was just talk.”

Uncertainties remain about COVID-19 this summer, but giving blood remains essential to the health of the community. Grace is among the many keeping the blood supply “Donor Strong.”

SUPPORT ‘DONOR STRONG BLOOD DRIVE’ MAY 29 TO AVERT BLOOD SHORTAGE

DAYTON, Ohio – Type O-negative blood is in short supply following high usage over the Memorial Day weekend. Community Blood Center is encouraging all donors to support the “Donor Strong Blood Drive” Friday, May 29 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Dayton CBC Donor Center, 349 South Main St.

Everyone who registers to donate will receive the “Wake Up & Give” t-shirt. Donors must make an appointment online at www.DonorTime.com or by calling (937) 461-3220.

Blood usage is changing as the community faces a transitional time in the COVID-19 pandemic. Community Blood Center must increase collections as hospitals treat more patients with blood needs, including surgeries and trauma cases.  This increased demand comes as summer gets underway with its traditional challenges to the blood supply.

The May 22 “Donor Strong Blood Drive” helped CBC prepare for the Memorial Day weekend. The blood drive totaled 141 donors, including 119 whole blood donors and 22 platelet and plasma donors. CBC has set a similar goal of more than 100 donors for the May 29 “Donor Strong Blood Drive.”

To safeguard everyone against COVID-19, all CBC donors must wear a face mask. To help maintain social distancing at blood drives CBC is requiring donors to make appointments. If all appointments are filled, donors are asked to please schedule on a different day.

The goal of the May 4 – Oct. 31 “Wake Up & Donate Blood Drive” it to meet the traditional increase in demand for blood donations during the summer months. CBC is challenging donors to collect all three t-shirt designs during the campaign.  Everyone who registers to donate will be automatically entered in the drawing to win a custom comfort adjustable Sleep Number bed.

CARROLL FINDS NEW VALUE IN ENDING COVID-19 YEAR WITH HIGH SCHOOL BLOOD DRIVE

DAYTON, Ohio – COVID-19 precautions shut-down Carroll High School the week before the school musical “Bye Bye Birdie.” It was soon “bye bye” everything. Classes continued online, but there was no prom, no spring sports, and saddest yet for seniors, no in-person graduation.

As schools closed, all Community Blood Center high school blood drives were cancelled. But Carroll junior Ryan Ballou decided that COVID-19 should not stop the school blood drive.

“I heard a lot about how we had a blood shortage in our county,” said Ryan, who has been the student blood drive coordinator of Carroll blood drives since his freshman year. “So, I reached out to Miss Laura Wright, our faculty blood drive coordinator, and asked her if there was any way we could still manage a blood drive.”

Carroll Principal Matt Sableski gave his approval, and Carroll had less than a month to recruit donors. “At first I didn’t know,” said Laura Wright. “I sent out an email and got a pretty good response. You know, the students’ schedules are pretty open right now!”

The blood drive came together on May 21 in the school gym on the last day of virtual classes. Students and parents filled all the appointments, totaling 56 donors and 47 blood donations.

“I was actually surprised when Miss Wright reached out to me” said senior Madeleine Sanders, who returned to Carroll Thursday to make her fourth lifetime donation.

Madeleine will work her from home for her summer job at Wright Patt Air Force Base, and she’s hoping for in-person classes at the University of Notre Dame in the fall. But seniors will be videotaped individually receiving their diplomas for a virtual graduation presentation in June.

“I was really hoping we could work out something so we could come back,” she said. “Now I see with what’s going on this is the best that was possible.”

Kenneth Smith was one of several Carroll seniors who qualified for the CBC Red Cord Honor program with his third donation Thursday.

“I was hoping I’d still be able to get the third done, so I’m really glad,” said Kenneth. “’Senioritis’ hits differently when your (taking virtual classes) in your own bedroom. It hits very differently!”

Junior Margaret Ollier was one of 15 first-time donors at Thursday’s blood drive. “I knew there was a need right now for people to donate blood,” she said. “I felt like if I was going to do it, it might as well be today.”

The timing of the blood drive on the final day of virtual classes was perfect for junior Donna Lawhorn. “I’m going to Texas tomorrow,” she said. “We’re going straight through without stopping. My grandpa lives in the middle of nowhere, so we figured we’d go and be somewhere else.”

Donna is not alone in feeling trapped by the pandemic. The long road trip will serve as an escape, and her donation gave her and her classmates a sense of purpose, and a final call to service as a Carroll Patriots during a confusing time.

“I really think the COVID-19 outbreak has changed kind of how we value our relationships and what we take for granted in the world,” said Ryan Ballou. “Just seeing the same faces every day. I think it will change our entire mindset. Not only as students or kids but as a society, on really valuing those around us and what we have.”

REID HEALTH WORKER GREAT STEELE ESCAPES COVID-19, GIVES PLASMA TO HELP OTHERS

DAYTON, Ohio – Night after feverish night, Greta Steele dreamed she was locked in a motel room with no way out.  The nightmares are all she remembers of the 10 days she spent on a ventilator at Reid Health, struggling to recover from COVID-19.

The coronavirus infection forced Greta to go from being a caregiver to a patient. She is a phlebotomist at Reid and will return to work after Memorial Day. On May 20 she found a way to help patients still suffering from the coronavirus nightmare by visiting Community Blood Center in Dayton to donate COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma.

Greta learned from Reid infectious disease specialist Dr. George Vail how COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP) from recovered COVID-19 patients is being used to treat those still critically ill with the virus.  Community Blood Center began collecting CCP in early April and was the first blood center in the region to launch a CPP program.

Greta’s COVID-19 symptoms began with headaches and trouble breathing. She tested positive in March and was soon a patient at Reid. “I remember the doctor telling me we have to incubate you, we’ve got to do it,” she said. “I said OK. I don’t remember anything after that.”

Ten restless nights followed. “I had a lot of dreams while I was out,” said Greta. “I was trying to get out of a motel room that I couldn’t get out of.”

Did the motel in her dreams represent the confinement of hospital room? All that mattered to Greta was that the nightmare finally ended.

“I didn’t know where I was at first,” she said of her reawakening. “I couldn’t walk. I’ve always worked two jobs. I start back after Memorial Day, but just part time. I get exhausted.”

She said she was sleepy during the drive to Dayton, but she was determined to donate.

As an experienced phlebotomist Greta knows how to hunt for veins, and she knows her own veins are hard to find.  She watched closely as CBC phlebotomist carefully prepared her for her first plasma donation.

She felt a sense of accomplishment once the donation was complete.  Her antibody-rich plasma will be divided into doses to help boost the immune systems of up to three COVID-19 patients. It’s a treatment that was not available yet when she was fighting the virus.

“I know people who’ve had it (CCP) get over it better after they started on it,” she said. “So, I am all for it!”

Community Blood Center is recruiting eligible COVID-19 survivors to donate COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP). To be eligible the donor’s diagnosis of COVID-19 must be through RNA testing – NOT by an antibody test. 

Information for donors and physicians is available at www.GivingBlood.org. Potential CCP donors can review the eligibility criteria and doctors can complete and submit the form needed to qualify potential donors for the CCP program.

JANE SCHNEIDER TURNS ‘NIGHTMARE’ OF COVID-19 INTO ANOTHER PATIENT’S HOPE

DAYTON, Ohio – Jane Schneider’s journey from COVID-19 patient to survivor and lifesaving donor began during the troubled month of March when she was sick for weeks with her fever spiking and her lungs shrinking.

“My doctor said to stay home,” she said. “But my fever went up to 103 and I started having trouble breathing. That’s when I called 911.”

She spent the next eight days in Sycamore Medical Center. She was tested for COVID-19 on March 31 and found out she was positive for the frightening coronavirus on April 2. 

“They said I had pneumonia, but didn’t know what kind,” she said. “They started me on oxygen. Once the test came back positive, they put me on hydroxyochloroquine and I was on it for five days.”

She said the drug known for treating malaria helped her slowly recover. “I was in the hospital a total of eight days, knocking down the oxygen as I went. I was so dehydrated when I got there, I remember it took a long time to find a vein for the IV.”

Perhaps the darkest part of what she called “this nightmare” was the loneliness.

“There were no visitors,” she said. “I was in the isolation floor. It was closed down the whole time after the test was positive. Anyone who came in was in total PPE.”

Her only contact with the outside world was the voice of her sister on her mobile phone. “After a couple of days, I said, ‘You have to FaceTime me, I have to see you.”

She was discharged from the hospital on April 8 and spent the next 14 days quarantined at home. She could work again. Like many of her colleagues at Puroclean, she worked from home. But first on her agenda was taking “the nightmare” and turning into a dream of hope for someone else fighting COVID-19.

Jane learned from her doctor how COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP) from recovered COVID-19 patients could be used to treat those still critically ill with the virus.  Community Blood Center had just begun to collect CCP in early April and was the first blood center in Ohio to launch a CPP program. The plasma was immediately going to local hospitals to treat COVID-10 patients.

Jane’s physician, Dr. Charles Opperman with Kettering Health Network, was an early advocate of CCP. “He called me in the hospital and said when you get better, you’ll be able to give plasma to help someone else.”

That became Jane’s goal.  She qualified for the CCP program and scheduled her first appointment to give plasma at CBC.  It would be her first blood donation of any kind.  But she was disappointed when her hemoglobin tested too low in screening to donate.

Jane was determined to boost her iron and try again. On May 6 she made her first successful donation.

“It’s easy!” she laughed as she completed her donation with no issues. “I’m thrilled. That just makes me want to do it more. I’m smiling behind my mask. I’m thrilled to be able to do it!”

Jane is already making plans to donate when she is eligible again in two weeks. She was proud to take with her a CBC platelet and plasma donor t-shirt emblazoned with the words, “I Am a Lifesaver.”

“I want something good to come out of this nightmare,” she said. “The thing they’re not reporting on is how many people have had it and have gotten better. The fact that I had it and I can help three or four different people – I want to be able to do that.”

TIME TO ‘WAKE UP & DONATE’ TO FACE SUMMER BLOOD SUPPLY CHALLENGES

DAYTON, Ohio – Community Blood Center is anticipating the traditional increase in demand for blood donations during the summer months by launching the May 4 through Oct. 31 “Wake Up & Donate Blood Drive.”

The campaign includes three special-edition donor t-shirts and a grand prize drawing for a Sleep Number bed.  The “Wake Up & Give” donor t-shirt debuts Monday, May 4 and continues through July 4. CBC is challenging eligible donors to collect all three t-shirt designs during the May 4 – Oct. 31 campaign.

“We don’t know what the summer season will hold, but it is traditionally a challenging time for maintaining the blood supply,” said CBC Donor Relations Director Tracy Morgan. “With the gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions, we anticipate a cautious return to more blood collection. Continuing the tradition of a summer blood drive is a way to show appreciation to our donors.”

The “Wake Up & Donate” campaign comes with the opportunity to drift away on the bed of your dreams. Everyone who registers to donate May 4 through Oct. 31 will be automatically entered in the drawing to win a luxurious Sleep Number bed. Eligible donors can increase their chances of winning by entering the drawing up to three times.

Sleep Number’s mattress design offers a unique combination of memory foam and air chambers with the power to make the bed firmer or softer at the touch of a button. Personalized comfort is adjustable on each side. Sleep Number claims, “You and your sleep partner will wake up refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to face whatever the day may bring.”

RED CORD HONORS FOR DIXIE HIGH’S AUBREY DWIRE ON HER VIRTUAL GRADUATION DAY

DAYTON, Ohio – Congratulations to Dixie High School senior Aubrey Dwire from New Lebanon who will wear the CBC Red Cord when she receives her high school diploma May 6 as part of a virtual graduation ceremony. Aubrey has every reason to feel proud about reaching her goals and refusing to let COVID-19 dash her dreams.

Aubrey first tried to donate at her high school blood drive in September of 2019, then made her first successful lifetime donation at Dixie’s January 2020 blood drive. With her donation at Dayton CBC on May 6 she completed the Red Cord Honor program requirement of registering to donate at least three times in her high school career.

“It doesn’t bother me to donate,” said Aubrey. “My mom wanted me to (complete the Red Cord). She said see if you can get it in before graduation!” CBC presented Aubrey with her Red Cord and she wore it as she donated.  She chose a red bandage wrap after her donation because “Dixie is red and gray.”

As for so many high school graduates across the Miami Valley and the nation, senior year did not go as planned. No prom, no last-day celebration, no parties, and no traditional graduation ceremony. “It’s not a big deal,” Aubrey said.

Aubrey’s nails were long, glittery and specially manicured. She did them only for graduation, because lately she’s been working on a home improvement project. “Otherwise I’m building a roof and they wouldn’t last long!” she said.

Tonight, Aubrey will report to Dixie High School in a group of four classmates, scheduled by alphabetical order.  Video will be rolling as each student walks across the stage and receives their diploma from their principal.

Afterwards, the group of four students will go outside and maintain a safe social distance as they toss their caps in the air, also on video.  Later, each diploma awarding and cap tossing will be edited into one complete Dixie High graduation video and shared with the community.

It won’t be the graduation that was supposed to take place at Dixie on May 26, the kind of celebration Aubrey and her classmates expected up until COVID-19 came along. But she also didn’t expect to be helping save a life by giving blood on a likely unforgettable virtual graduation day.