NEW LEBANON PROVES ‘IT TAKES A VILLAGE’ TO RAISE BLOOD SUPPLY

NEW LEBANON, Ohio – The village of New Lebanon borrowed from the familiar proverb “it takes a village” to help protect the slumping blood supply during the difficult summer of COVID-19.

Village government, business, and schools worked in unison to sponsor the July 6 New Lebanon community blood drive at Dixie Elementary School.  The July 4th holiday week had just ended, and CBC’s blood supply was – and remains – dangerously low.  The blood drive totaled 70 donors, including 57 donations and 14 first time donors.

“This was a combination of many wonderful New Lebanon residents and friends working together to hold a new community blood drive,” said CBC account representative Donna Teuscher.

The idea for a community blood drive began in village government with Starr Joy from the Parks & Rec Department. “Starr wanted to hold a blood drive and we decided to get things started in April,” said Donna. “COVID-19 hit and we postponed.”

A few weeks later, Lacy Aikman at Somerville Bank also asked about sponsoring a blood drive. “We decided to combine the two drives and invite the high school to host,” said Donna.

Dixie High School blood drive coordinator Debi Teater spoke to New Lebanon Local Schools Superintendent Dr. Greg Williams. The high school gym floor was undergoing repair, but Dr. Williams offered the Dixie Elementary School cafeteria.

NHS advisor and blood drive volunteer coordinator Lori Moses helped spread the word about the blood drive on social media.

“This is a very giving community,” said Donna. “We hoped for 40 people but had 81 sign up.”

“I teach at the middle school and my daughter went to Dixie High School,” said donor Margie Loyacano who came to the blood drive with her daughter Lily Pedrotti. “I saw it on Facebook and told her about it.”

“I usually would give when blood drives went to my high school,” said Lilly. “I donated here and when they come to UD I donate there.”

“I saw it on the New Lebanon Schools Facebook page and decided to do it,” said donor Teresa Brinson. “I know when my daughter donated at Twin Valley South High School, she got call saying she had helped save three lives.”

A mural on the back wall of the stage overlooking the cafeteria reads, “I Better My World and I Better Myself.” Dennis Goecke sat at a table below the mural, drinking orange juice, and waiting for his wife Sharon to finish her donation.  He noted that the middle school cafeteria is usually converted into a summer daycare center, but not this year with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We usually go to Brookhaven,” said Dennis, referring to the monthly blood drive in Brookville that has been forced to change locations twice this spring due to the coronavirus. “We’ve been hearing they’ve been needing blood. She went online and saw two slots open.”

New Lebanon mom Jessica Saunders was one of the 14 first-time donors who joined the village-wide effort to make the blood drive successful.

“I got an email from the superintendent,” said Jessica. “My daughter is going into third grade and I have one in pre-school. I have always wanted to and now I have the chance.”

APHERESIS NURSE LINDSEY STUEVE IS CBC’S MOST ADMIRED ESSENTIAL HERO DRAWING WINNER

DAYTON, Ohio – There are many “Essential Heroes” of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. We’re proud that Community Blood Center donors considered the people they know in Collection Services as they voted for an essential worker they admire.

We are especially proud that nurse and apheresis specialist Lindsey Stueve will represent the good work of CBC as winner of the “We Are Essential Heroes Blood Drive” drawing for a $200 Kroger Gift Card.

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Katie Ellis, CBC’s top female donors submitted the nomination for Lindsey on June 30 after donating platelets. It was Katie’s 561st lifetime donation, and a significant number of those donations were administered by Lindsey.

Lindsey was happy for the honor and the drawing prize, but it wasn’t in her possession very long. She chose to donate the $200 Kroger Gift Card to the CS fundraiser for the Dayton Food Bank.

“That’s really nice of her,” said CS Director Kay Ollech. “She’s been such a trooper through all of this, like all of the staff.  She voluntarily drew the first convalescent plasma.  She performed apheresis on several patients who were suspected of having COVID-19 at some of our local hospitals.  Lindsey is always a donor favorite, so it’s no surprise that Katie Ellis, our highest achieving female donor, felt Lindsey deserved the nomination for Essential Hero.”

There was a great deal of apprehension in the air when Mendel Mangel arrived at the Dayton CBC on April 6 to become the first COVID-19 survivor to donate convalescent plasma.  There was much at stake in his donation.  The CCP program had come together rapidly to answer the call for critically ill COVID-19 patients.  Mengel had just tested negative, clearing him to donate. Even so, it was the first time a person known to be infected with the virus would be welcomed into the Donor Room. He would be the first CCP donor, even though the program had not officially launched.

After all that build-up, the final step was for the procedure to go perfectly.  Lindsey calmly made sure it did.

She also continued to work through the height of the pandemic, despite concern everywhere about being exposed to COVID-19.

“I never personally felt uncomfortable,” Lindsey said. “I think working in healthcare you get used to knowing there are many things out there you can be exposed to that might even be worse than COVID-19.  I never worried about being around our donors.  There were times when we would go to the hospitals for the therapeutics, you wondered about the condition of the patients, was there going to be PPE. Usually the doctors would accompany us, and they were no longer doing that.  But it’s all part of working in healthcare.”

COVID-19 was a shared risk and a shared responsibility by essential workers who labored to help keep the community safer and stronger during the darkest days of the pandemic.  Congratulations to Lindsey for representing all essential heroes, and for being our essential hero.

MORE DONORS NOW ELIGIBLE TO DONATE PLASMA FOR COVID-19 PATIENTS

DAYTON, Ohio – More donors can now qualify to help COVID-19 patients by donating plasma at Community Blood Center. Donors with a positive blood test for COVID-19 antibodies are now eligible to donate COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP) as hospitals face rising demand for this life-saving treatment.

Community Blood Center was the first in Ohio to collect convalescent plasma when it began the CCP program on April 6.  The program has been limited to donors who tested positive to COVID-19 by the RNA nasal swab test and were no longer contagious.

The program is now open to donors who have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies by blood test. They must be symptom free for 28 days.

CBC has been collecting plasma from antibody-tested donors on a trial basis since June 12. The program is now open to the public. Donors can learn more about the requirements and register to donate at www.GivingBlood.org or call (937) 461-3220.

Convalescent plasma is considered an experimental treatment, but the antibody-rich plasma has proven effective in helping severely ill COVID-19 patients recover. The recent resurgence of COVID-19 hospitalizations has increased demand and blood centers around the country have been asked to double their plasma collection.

“Our CCP donors want to help COVID-19 patients and many have donated their plasma multiple times,” said CBC Medical Director Dr. James Alexander. “But we have a limited number of donors. Our hope is that by qualifying more donors through antibody testing we can help meet this increasing need for CCP.”

From April through June CBC has collected 120 CCP plasma donations and processed 270 CCP doses to supply CBC’s partner hospitals and answer requests from blood centers and hospitals outside the region. Each CCP donation produces enough plasma to treat up to three patients. CCP donors are eligible to donate again after 14 days.

BEAVERCREEK NATIVE FIRST TO DONATE CONVALESCENT PLASMA AFTER ANTIBODY TEST

COVID-19 cases in New York City were peaking at more than 11,000 a day in early April when Ryan Monell sensed he too was a victim of the coronavirus. “I was tired and a little hazy,” he said. “Other than that, I was never very sick.”

Ryan is a Beavercreek native, and a Carroll High School, Ohio State University, and Columbia University graduate. He works in Government Affairs with the New York State Board of Real Estate and has been working from his home in Queens since New York’s stay-home order on March 15.

He felt better after a few days and remained in quarantine for a couple of weeks. Two months later, on June 12, he became the first donor to qualify to give COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP) at Community Blood Center by a positive blood test for COVID-19 antibodies.

Ryan’s plasma donation came during a trial period before CBC opened antibody-test qualification to the public.  Without the change, Ryan could not donate CCP. Initially, donors could only qualify with proof of a positive nasal swab test.  Ryan never had a swab test during the time he was infected with COVID-19.

“I didn’t get tested until I decided I’d come to Ohio,” said Ryan, who was visiting his family when he donated at CBC.  “I got the swab test and the antibody test at the same time. The swab test came back negative, but the antibody test came back positive. About one in five in New York have antibodies. I didn’t want to travel before doing that.”

Ryan knew that people who had recovered from COVID-19 were donating plasma. His last blood donation was in 2006 at a CBC blood drive at Carrol High School.

“I Googled ‘Donate blood in Dayton’ and signed up,” he said. “I wanted to do the right thing because I had the antibodies. I thought it was a good thing to donate blood. In the note box I put that I had tested positive for antibodies and I got a call.”

Ryan’s initiative happened to come just as CBC was launching a plan to allow antibody testing. His plasma was tested and put on hold until CBC finalized the antibody test qualification for CCP donations. It will be processed into the pharmaceutical product hyperimmune globulin for treating COVID-19 patients.

During his visit in June, new COVID-19 cases were at an all-time low in New York. It was gratifying to remember the darkest days of the pandemic and see hope in the treatment patients are receiving from CCP donations.

“New York is different,” he said.  “A lot of people there either know someone who had it or had it themselves. I think everybody practicing social distancing and being conscientious about how this will affect everyone is very important. Right now, no one is entirely immune from it, so we all have to do our part.”

ESSENTIAL HERO DONORS LIFT BLOOD SUPPLY, AVOID HOLIDAY SHORTAGE

DAYTON, Ohio – Blood donors helped avert a critical blood shortage during the July 4th holiday week by supporting the “We Are Essential Heroes Blood Drive” at the Dayton Community Blood Center and at mobile blood drives across CBC’s 15-county region.

More than 1,777 people registered to donate with CBC from June 26 through July 6. The response was vital for preventing a blood shortage because of the limited number of mobile blood drives during the holiday week and no collections on July 4th.

The eight-day “We Are Essential Heroes Blood Drive” at the Dayton CBC Donation Center totaled 977 donors including 780 whole blood donations and 218 platelet and plasma donations. Mobile blood drives registered 800 donors during the week and area-wide there were 116 first-time donors.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley gave her support to the “We Are Essential Heroes Blood Drive” by donating at the Dayton CBC on July 6. CBC extended the “Essential Hero Blood Drive” through Monday, July 6 out of concern for the low inventory of blood on hand at hospitals after the holiday weekend.

“My new year’s resolution was to come as often as I could and get on a regular schedule,” said Mayor Whaley, who also donated during the COVID-19 lockdown to demonstrate giving blood as an essential activity.

“It’s a great way to help your community especially during this time of uncertainty,” she said. “Number one it’s super easy. They do all the hard work for you. It’s not difficult and they guide you through it. There’s usually a cool t-shirt or some sort of nice token to say they appreciate the work you’re doing for your community, so it’s a great way to help your community.”

CBC will continue to face challenges as summer continues. Uncertainties about the COVID-19 pandemic and limitations on blood drives to protect donors and staff continue to impact collections.

CBC is seeking more people to become first-time donors and is asking all to join the World Blood Donor Day pledge, “Make Two Appointments to Donate and Keep Them.”  Make an appointment to donate at www.DonorTime.com or call (937) 461-3220.

CBC GETS TIMELY ‘MASKS FROM MOM’ DONATION

DAYTON, Ohio – Modern Office Methods, the document management company known as MOM with offices in Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati, has made a $2,500 donation to Community Blood Center that will be used to purchase face masks for blood donors.

“We chose six organizations that impacted the community in a great way and had a really big need, especially with the health care crisis we’re all going through,” said MOM Marketing Manager Julie Italiano.

Julie Italiano and MOM Managed Print Specialist Lory Marshall presented the check to CBC Donor Relations Tracy Morgan July 2 at the Dayton CBC Donation Center. Tracy said the money will go to immediate use for purchasing face masks for donors.

“This donation comes at a critical point,” said Tracy. “It’s essential for us to protect donors and staff. Providing face masks has been an unexpected expense this year.”

CBC distributed 5,000 “Hero” masks to donors during the month of June.

“This goes a long way to providing a badge of honor for all donors,” Tracy said. “MOM is making these donations to help organizations in need, and this helps us immediately with what we are going through.”

MOM is also making donations to the Dayton Food Bank, Joint Township Hospital in St. Mary, Cincinnati Tool bank, the Community Shelter Board, and Bridgeway Academy

CBC FACING CRITICAL NEED AS HOLIDAY WEEKEND NEARS

DAYTON, Ohio – Community Blood Center is facing an urgent need for blood donors due to COVID-19 related challenges to the blood supply combined with the July 4th holiday week. Eligible donors are urged to support the “We Are Essential Heroes Blood Drive” continuing July 1 through July 3 at the Dayton Community Blood Center, 349 S. Main St.

Everyone who registers to donate will receive a $10 Kroger gift card and the free “Wake Up & Give” t-shirt. Make an appointment online at www.DonorTime.com or call (937) 461-3220.

“People are worried about the recent resurgence of COVID-19 in or area, and we have seen some blood drives cancel,” said CBC Donor Relations Director Tracy Morgan. “Donors want to help during the July 4th holiday period, but with COVID-19 this summer is more unpredictable.  Giving blood was essential to the public health during the height of the pandemic and remains essential now.”

Donors who support the “Essential Hero Blood Drive” can nominate an essential worker they admire to be entered in a drawing for a $200 Kroger gift card.

The demand for blood has increased as hospitals return to pre-COVID-19 usage and the blood supply faces the summer challenges of vacation travel and outdoor activities, no high school blood drives, and increases in accidents and trauma cases.

CBC’s “Wake Up & Donate Blood Drive” is underway to encourage summer donating. Everyone who registers to donate May 4 through Oct. 31 is automatically entered in the grand prize drawing for a custom-comfort Sleep Number bed.

TOUCHING MORE LIVES WITH 5TH ANNUAL VINCENT JONES BLOOD DRIVE

EATON, Ohio – The yearly “ripple effect” of saving lives in memory of young Eaton father lost to leukemia has broadened into a riptide.  Despite the many challenges of COVID-19, the fifth annual Vincent Jones Memorial on June 27 again gathered more than 80 donors at the Eaton First Church of God and for the first time included platelet and double red blood cell donations.

Mindy Sue Jones-Vannatter organized the first memorial blood drive soon after her husband Vincent’s death on June 24, 2016. It has continued as a tribute to blood donors and testimony to the value of the blood transfusions that helped him live long enough to see the birth of his son Jeremiah.

The blood drive’s growth has helped Community Blood Center maintain the blood supply during the challenging July 4th holiday period. Saturday’s blood drive totaled 81 donors, including 63 whole blood donations, three double-red cell donations and seven platelet donations.

Mindy was the first to donate double red blood cells. Vincent’s brother Craig Jones is an Eaton police officer who began donating platelets when Vincent was receiving platelets as part of his leukemia treatment. Saturday marked the first time he could donate platelets at the memorial blood drive.

“Words can’t describe knowing what these blood products meant to cancer patients and families of cancer patients,” said Mindy. “I sat in Vincent’s hospital room… any time he was transfused I prayed for that donor and their family.”

Sponsors helped Mindy purchase “Vincent Strong” stress balls as a gift for the donors. They are bright orange, the support color for leukemia. A friend made Mindy an orange face mask embroidered with the blood drive name.

COVID-19 restrictions meant suspending some traditions at this year’s Vincent Jones Memorial Blood Drive. There could be no pancake breakfast for the donors, and no gathering of Mindy and Vincent’s family and friends, including her sons Gabriel and Jeremiah.

“I hate that they’re missing this,” said Mindy. “Jeremiah is finally at the age where he understands it. We can still collect blood donations, still save lives, but we can do it safely.”

A tradition unchanged was the flow of familiar donors, including family members donating together.  Steve Hurd, a fellow Eaton police officer with Craig Jones, donated with his family. Ryon and Jill McKee said, “Our sons played soccer and baseball together.”

Marty and Robin Cole and their daughter Lauren donated together, then shared photos holding the units they had just donated.  Robin is a nurse at Miami Valley Hospital and remembers Vincent’s nine-week struggle during treatment.

“I’ve known Mindy since she was a little girl and knew Vincent and have been a friend of the family,” said Robin. “It’s good she’s doing this; with all she’s had to go through. She’s a good person.”

“I’ve said it time and time again, but this is the ripple effect,” said Mindy. “When you donate blood, you help save a life, but you don’t know what other lives are going to be touched by that person and the people they touch. It’s a never-ending ripple. When you throw a stone in the water you don’t know how far the affects go.”

The addition of platelet collection to the blood drive created a ripple effect that reached platelet donor Guy Benge.

“This worked out well for me,” Guy said.  “I was very happy. I was supposed to give two weeks ago but had a death in the family and I couldn’t do it that day, and felt I need to give back. It’s something I can do. If you have it, why not share it?”

NEVER A BETTER TIME FOR JD’S ‘GIVE A PINT, GET A PINT BLOOD DRIVE’

ENGLEWOOD, Ohio – JD’s Old Fashioned Frozen Custard means summertime in Englewood, even in the summer of COVID-19. The promise of a free pint helped motivate 116 people to support the 15th annual “Give a Pint, Get a Pint Blood Drive” June 25 at Fairview Brethren in Christ Church.

Community Blood Center counts on the blood drive to help boost the blood supply during the challenging July 4th holiday period. Hospitals are also returning to higher usage as Ohio reopens from the COVID-19 shutdown.

JD’s and neighbor Fairview Brethren have been co-hosting the blood drive to accommodate more donors. To keep better social distancing under this year’s COVID-19 restrictions, the blood drive took place only at the church. JD’s owner Cindy Gress continued the tradition of donating free-pint coupons for all registered donors.

“We started back because we know that during the summer, people are vacationing, especially over the Fourth of July,” said Cindy. “There’s a lot of things going on and the need for the blood supply was great.”

The free pint worked like a charm again with the blood drive totaling 116 donors, including 88 whole blood donations and eight platelet donors.

Like many churches, Fairview Brethren has not returned to in-person Sunday services.  But they made extra space for the blood drive by moving the platelet donor beds next to the pews in the main church.

“We can do it every time, if it helps,” said Rev. Mark Ballard, who made his 189th lifetime donation at Thursday’s blood drive.  His church hosts six CBC blood drives per year.  They also hosted the Northmont community blood drives in the spring so they wouldn’t be cancelled, and expanded capacity for the JD’s blood drive. “That’s what we’re here for,” said Rev. Ballard.

Darla Baldonado from West Milton donated at the JD’s blood drives before becoming a regular platelet donor at Fairview Brethren. “The pint always goes to my mother!” said Darla. “I have never kept it. She enjoys it and it gives her something to be happy about.”

Darla’s mom lives in a retirement community, where heightened concerns about the coronavirus have been a cause of stress.  She said the frozen custard will help. “I get to help others and make my mother happy.”

Englewood’s Kacy Stiver is an essential worker at a health clinic who made her 14th lifetime donation, but her first at the “Give a Pint, Get a Pint Blood Drive.” “I’ve never been able to get an appointment!” she said.

Molly Holt from Brookville and Cherie France from Englewood are Northmont elementary school teachers who came to the blood drive together. It was Molly’s first time donating.  Cherie saw it as an opportunity to help someone in need.

“I have a friend whose son was diagnosed with leukemia in February,” said Cherie. “They weren’t allowing people to sit with him. She sent out a message asking to donate.”

 “I signed us up together,” said Molly. “We wanted to do something good for the community.”

NO ORDINARY WIN FOR ANSONIA IN 11TH ANNUAL FFA GRUDGE MATCH BLOOD DRIVE

ANSONIA, Ohio – The rival FFA clubs from Ansonia and Mississinawa Valley High School stayed true to tradition by sponsoring the 11th annual FFA Grudge Match Blood Drive June 23 at Ansonia. But the Grudge Match was different in this summer of COVID-19.

Ansonia claimed a rare back-to-back victory in the challenge by a 19-11 donor vote.  The blood drive accomplished the goal of helping Community Blood Center boost the blood supply before the July 4th holiday by totaling 32 donors including 28 donations.

This year’s Grudge Match will be remembered as the year when donors and volunteers wore masks, kept their social distance, and there were no FFA members around to hoist the Grudge Match trophy. Ansonia decided to host the blood drive without students, except for high school donors from neighboring districts.

“Our April blood drive was cancelled and there was a concern we wouldn’t have it,” said Ansonia agriculture instructor and FFA advisor Emily Smith. “But our superintendent said if we took precautions, we could use the facility. We recognized it is a need. So many blood drives have been cancelled and there’s a huge need for blood right now. We thought if there was anything we can do, we should.”

Ansonia took the lead in the Grudge Match series last year and now holds a 6-4-1 record. Emily and MVHS FFA co-advisors Gwen Bergman and Carmen Hartzell greeted donors and reminded them to cast their ballot before leaving.

“I’m in the habit of giving blood,” said MVHS bus driver Nick Philiposian. “I try to give twice a year, to help people and serve the community.”

Ansonia donor Bob Gelhaus voted for his hometown school.  Margaret Harshbarger came from Greenville to donate and was a little undecided about her vote. So was Brandon Townsend from Union City who graduated this spring from Tri-Village High School.

Brandon wore a face mask his mother made from fabric with a pin-up girl design.  He started donating at Tri-Village and made his fourth lifetime donation at the Grudge Match. Like so many high school seniors, COVID-19 erased much of his final semester, including in-person graduation.

“I still got my diploma,” said Brandon.

As the Grudge Match continued, so did speculation about what fall will be like at Ansonia and Mississinawa.

“Some might come one day, and some on another day,” Emily said was one plan discussed. “We don’t all have internet and it’s not always reliable,” Carmen said about students taking virtual classes online. “I think that’s a concern.”

Social distancing in the classroom will be another challenge. “If I can’t be right there to see how they’re doing it, I can’t help them,” said Gwen.

They agreed with Emily’s prediction, “It’s going to be weird.”

CBC HONORS DONORS & WORKERS WITH ‘WE ARE ESSENTIAL HEROES BLOOD DRIVE’

DAYTON, Ohio – Giving blood was essential to the public health during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and it is essential to give blood again during the July 4th holiday period. Community Blood Center is calling on “essential heroes” to donate and will honor all essential workers with the “We Are Essential Heroes Blood Drive” Friday, June 26 through Friday, July 3 at the Dayton CBC Donation Center, 349 South Main St.  

Everyone who registers to donate will receive a $10 Kroger gift card and free “Hero” face mask (while supplies last), and a free “Wake Up & Give” t-shirt. Donors must make an appointment and wear a face mask. Schedule your donation at www.DonorTime.com or call (937) 461-3220.

The “We are Essential Heroes Blood Drive” honors those who heroically gave blood during the COVID-19 lockdown and honors all front-line workers in healthcare, public safety, grocery stores, pharmacies, and charities who risked their health for the public good.

Everyone who registers to donate during the “Essential Heroes” blood drive is welcome to nominate an essential worker who helped keep our community safer and stronger during the worst days of the pandemic. The nominations will be entered in a drawing for a $200 Kroger gift card.

Blood donations are in high demand as hospitals return to pre-COVID-19 usage and the blood supply faces the traditional summer holiday challenges of vacation travel, no high school blood drives, and increases in accidents and trauma cases.

CBC’s “Wake Up & Donate Blood Drive” is underway to encourage summer donating. Everyone who registers to donate May 4 through Oct. 31 is automatically entered in the grand prize drawing for a custom-comfort Sleep Number bed.