WHIO-TV News Center 7 came to Community Blood Center (CBC) Friday, Jan. 31 to talk about all the reasons winter can be such a tough time for maintaining the regional blood supply. Inside the Donor Room the crew soon found 1,522 reasons why the snow and cold is no match for the heart and soul of CBC donors.
When the camera started rolling it found Bert Jones, CBC’s 2nd ranked active donor, finishing his milestone 515th lifetime donation. In the next donor bed Glenn Stoops was making his 231st donation and teased Bert by saying, “What are you up to today Bert, 700?”
One bed down was Stephen Grusenmeyer, one of the many donors from the Grusenmeyer farm family in Miami County, who made his milestone 130th lifetime donation. In the next bed Alfred Mescher smiled at all the familiar faces as he made his 251st lifetime donation.
Then up to join the boys after making her milestone 395th was Judy LaMusga, who hugged Bert as they both gave interviews to the TV crew. Together, this “band of brothers – plus one sister” represented 1,522 lifetime blood donations.
“It’s like a competition,” Judy told reporter Glenn Cassie in her videotaped interview. “Some of us here are fiercely competitive.” (Judy is second only to Katie Ellis among CBC’s active female donors). “We come in, and if for some health reason we can’t donate that day we stomp out of here angry! Really though, it’s a wonderful feeling. I get more out of it than I give.”
“It’s very fulfilling,” Bert said in his interview. “I do this for me because I have to do it. It’s validating. It’s not the only reason, but it’s one of the main reasons.”
Bert’s milestone 515th lifetime donation was his first of 2014 after a nearly six-month break from donating. As a platelet donor he can donate as often as once a week, up to 24 times per year, and most of his donations had come early in the year.
“Last year I went about every week and I maxed out for the year early,” he said. “This year I’m going to try to come every two weeks and spread them out over the whole year. Six months is too long to sit around and not be able to donate.”
Bert’s visits will be welcome. As News Center 7 came to report for the 6:00 news, the winter of 2013-14 has been a challenge. The frigid weather this week alone forced the cancellation of four blood drives on Monday, both Wright State University blood drives on Tuesday and two-hour delays for high school blood drives on Wednesday.
But corporate drives at Honda Manufacturing and Wilson Medical Building Tuesday helped enormously to replenish the supply. Alter High School exceeded its blood drive goal on Wednesday despite squeezing appointments into half the time originally planned. Then on Friday Bert, Judy and other apheresis donors and whole blood donors made it a busy morning at the downtown CBC Donor Center.
February begins with the threat of more snow and the rest of the month will probably have its weather challenges no matter what the groundhog says about an early spring. Whatever this rough winter brings, it will not be enough to stop CBC donors, the heart and soul of the blood supply.