DAYTON, Ohio – Face masks felt odd and intrusive at first. But as they become more common, some blood donors are using them for personal expression, like a unique tattoo or favorite t-shirt.
The mask Huber Heights donor Joe Koenig wore while making his milestone 150th lifetime donation April 30 at Community Blood Center is a Route 66 road map of his family roots out west.
“My daughter made it,” said Joe. “She was born in New Mexico when I was in the Air Force. I went to school at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, and that’s where I did my first donation.”
The mask design includes the classic U.S. Route 66 road sign, an old gas station pump and a suitcase with vintage travel stickers. It maps his western memories through New Mexico, Colorado, and Oklahoma.
“I graduated high school in Oklahoma,” Joe explained. “My dad was in the Army and I was Air Force. I went to school in Colorado and that’s why it has Route 66.”
His career took him eventually to Wright Patterson Air Force Base where he became a loyal CBC donor and a member of a Life Leaders team. “It was in the late 80’s, when they had those teams and you competed,” he said. “Ours was the Assistant Program Office working on the F15 out there at Area B. I remember that.”
Joe retired in 1992 after 27 years in the service, then taught physics for 10 years at the Miami Valley Career Technology Center. He retired from teaching in 2003, then let his faith guide him to what he calls his “third career” in community service.
As a volunteer with the Living City Project in Dayton he helped collect 250 tons of trash last year, earning the city a national “Keep America Beautiful” campaign award. This year’s project was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another disappointment for Joe is that the May 10 National Day of Prayer event on Dayton’s Courthouse Square will be a virtual event this year, again because of COVID-19.
But with his road map face mask firmly in place, Joe could donate in person at the Dayton CBC. He’s been a platelet and plasma donor since 2001 and averages 10 donations per year. He reached his 150th donation milestone with his fifth donation of 2020.
As Joe continues to charter the course of his continuing “Donor for Life” journey, he may have to ask his daughter to make him another mask.
DAYTON, Ohio – Grocery stores and the food supply chain have been essential business during the time of COVID-19. For Harrison Township donor Lonn Jackson, his family business “Jaxon Corn Meal Mush” has been a staple at America’s breakfast table for more than a century. Lonn also considers giving platelets an essential duty.
Lonn donated both platelets and red cells on April 28 Dayton Community Blood Center for his milestone 300th lifetime blood donation.
Jaxon Foods in Harrison Township has been the family business since 1896. Lonn retired in 2018, handing the reins to his son, the fifth generation to run the company. But with the recent demands on the food supply, his work schedule continued. “We’ve been busier than ever the last few months,” he said.
“We basically have two products, both breakfast foods,” said Lonn. One of the products is a pork and oats sausage still popular in Cincinnati’s German community. Jaxon Foods’ main product is yellow corn mush – also known as polenta, but not to be confused with white corn grits – distributed under multiple brands.
No, Lonn doesn’t get mushy about his family’s heritage, nor does he deliver the dogsled command “mush!” whenever he’s ready to go. He’s a type O-positive Rh universal donor and a CMV-negative “baby donor” who donates platelet, plasma and red cells an average of eight times per year.
Family history helped him recall his donor history. “My first donation goes back to the birth of my first child,” he said. “I had just graduated from Ohio State University. He was born a week later. We had a family doctor and he who would request all new fathers give a pint of blood. Anything to get more people giving blood.”
“That was my first time and my son will be 48 in December,” Lonn said.
He doesn’t recall exactly when he became a platelet donor, but it was in the early years of the apheresis program at the Dayton CBC.
“It was upstairs,” he said. “One of the nurses asked if I was interested and told me how important it was. There was a lot more involved and they sat next to you the whole time.”
Jaxon Foods says home-style mush can add “new taste and variety to all your meals.” But it can also boast of doing something consistently right for nearly 125 years. Lonn can take the same pride in his 300 lifetime donations.
CENTERVILLE, Ohio – The Officer John Kalaman Memorial Blood Drive has been a unified show of support for public safety workers since the Centerville policeman’s 1998 death in the line of duty. Cautions this year against COVID-19 didn’t stop the tradition from continuing with the April 27 blood drive at Centerville High School.
Kalaman and Washington Township Firefighter Robert O’Toole were struck by a motorist and killed Jan. 12, 1998 while assisting at the scene of an accident on I-675. The Kalaman family began the tradition of hosting a Community Blood Center blood drive on Kalaman’s April 27th birthday.
Over the years his parents John and Paula Kalaman enjoyed visiting with old friends, serving birthday cake to the donors, and welcoming new donors. Social distancing and other safety restrictions prevented the usual gathering of the public safety community and for the first time, the Kalamans could not attend.
“I’m so upset we had to miss it,” said Paula Kalaman. “I have mixed emotions. I understand. A beautiful day like this, I would have been glad to be in the parking lot and just waved to people as they went by. But it’s tough to stay away. If we had gone, we would have wanted to stay the whole day. It was the best all around, but it was hard. There will be other years.”
The blood drive moved from its traditional location at the Centerville Police Department to Centerville High School and was CBC’s only mobile blood drive of the day. It totaled 101 donors and 87 donations. More than 4,336 units of blood have now been donated in Kalaman’s name.
“This is the first time I’ve donated (at the Kalaman blood drive),” said Vandy Watrous. “I remember the accident. I was on my way to work, about to get on I-675 at Wilmington Pike and I saw the lights. I’ll never forget it. I’m sorry I haven’t donated at this before.”
Jake Stone started donating when he was a student at Centerville High School. He has donated at nearly every Kalaman blood drive since 2013. “Probably since I was able to donate when I was 15,” he said. “I know the Kalamans really well. It’s good they’re still doing it.”
“This is my first time donating,” said Natalie Mays, one of 20 first-time donors at Monday’s blood drive. “I do not like staying at home doing nothing. It drives me crazy!”
The Kalaman blood drive became a homecoming for Dale and Ella Davidson and their sons Jeremy and Justin. The brothers Centerville High students, and it was their first return to school since in-person classes ended.
“I know it’s necessary,” Jeremy said about the shut-down. He’s a senior who earned a cross country scholarship to Bowling Green University. But his final high school track season ended short of the finish line.
“I’m still kind of bummed out,” he said. “For me and my buddies, it felt like we were going off to spring break and never came back.”
“Every time we would look at blood drives close to us, it would be it’s full, it’s full,” said Dale Davidson. “They (CBC) reached out to me about this and my wife said, ‘Why don’t you schedule all of us?’”
“There were a lot of names that were first time for us,” Paula Kalaman, who begins signing-up donors weeks before the blood drive.
“It just goes to prove that no matter what the times are, people in our community are caring. And what better birthday gift than giving someone the gift of life. We got a ton of those gift today.”
DAYTON, Ohio – Five area high school seniors have each won $1,000 for college tuition in the 2020 Community Blood Center/Vectren, A CenterPoint Energy Company Lead The Way Scholarship competition. Their creative campaigns for inspiring classmates to donate blood include t-shirt designs, an inspired music video, and a unique donor blanket.
The group represents a continued legacy of scholarship winners from Chaminade Julienne, Arcanum, and Cedarville High Schools, and the first winner from Laurel Oaks Career Center.
Samuel Caruso, Oakwood High School: “Impact of Blood Drive in Dayton Community”
Oakwood High senior Samuel “Sammy” Caruso created a recruitment video to encourage students to donate at Oakwood’s Dec. 5, 2019 blood drive. Creative inspiration came from the popular HBO series “Game of Thrones.” He borrowed the show’s theme music and opening title sequence that scans a map of the Seven Kingdoms. Sammy’s video maps the steps a blood donation follows from donor to patient.
A key inspiration for Sammy was his interview with chemistry teacher and blood donor Anthony Rainsberger, who talks about his wife receiving platelet transfusions after chemotherapy treatments.
“I made a video to put on the announcements at school that was to encourage and teach students the importance of donating blood and how it has impacted people personally,” said Sammy. “I donated blood for the first time following the making of this video because I was encouraged by all the people I talked to. I wanted other students to hear their stories and understand how a little bit can go a long way.”
He plans to attend the University of Vermont.
Anna Winter, Cedarville High School: “People Live When People Give.”
Cedarville High senior Anna Winter created a blood drive recruitment campaign with the slogan “People Live When People Give.” Her marketing material design included a deep red t-shirt with the dictionary definition “give/verb – to freely devote, set aside, or sacrifice for a purpose” on the front and her slogan and a blood drop on the back.
“My blood recruitment campaign focuses mainly on what it really means to give to others,” said Anna. “We know giving is good, but why should we do it? The idea of sacrificing for a purpose is something that really made me think about blood donation.
“Many people in our community, state and country are blessed beyond compare. We receive so much and rarely think to give back when donating blood is one of the easiest and most beneficial ways to do so! I hope you join me in understanding what it really means to give and find joy in sacrificing your free gift for a bigger purpose.”
Anna plans to attend Cedarville University.
Annie Osborn, Laurel Oaks Career Center: “Wrapped in Compassion.”
Laurel Oaks Career Center senior Annie Osborn called her campaign “Wrapped In Compassion” and designed a blanket or small towel as a donor gift. She illustrated it with a blood drop and the slogan “Blanket Someone in Love – Donate Blood.”
“To most people, blankets and towels symbolize warmth, care, and providence,” said Annie. “Blankets and towels comfort people when they are sick, and they provide reassurance in difficult times. This is similar to what blood donation does for others.
“When people put others before themselves, they exhibit those qualities of warmth and care. Blood donors show compassion to strangers. Blood donors humble themselves enough to provide for those in great need. Donations do save lives. So, my greatest hope is that people see this campaign and correspond blankets and towels to compassion. And then when they see the compassion shown to them, they will show compassion to others, specifically through blood donation. The Community Blood Center is about more than just donating blood. It’s about being a Good Samaritan and giving the greatest gift: life.”
Annie lives in Wilmington and plans to attend Liberty University.
John Huffman, Chaminade Julienne High School: “Be a Part of a Winning Team, Give Blood!”
Chaminade Julienne High senior John “Jack” Huffman chose a sports theme for his campaign “Be Part of a Winning Team, Give Blood.” It features a long-sleeve t-shirt with a team sports jersey design, including a large number “3” on the front for “3 Lives Save” and his slogan and the CBC blood drop on the back.
“My theme will inspire my classmates to donate blood because it targets what a lot of students love most and that is sports,” said John. The inspiration for the front of the sport is any sports jersey. Jerseys can be seen all around high schools whether professional or a student’s team jersey. When developing this shirt, I focused on what would excite a student most and that is inclusion and the value of donating blood and that is knowing that you saved three lives through a donation that is portrayed prominently on the front of the shirt with the jersey number.
“I think this will also encourage my classmates because it makes them feel like they are part of a larger cause of difference-makers which is what this winning team is. I would be inspired to give based on the fact that I am saving three lives with the blood I give, and I am directly impacting my community and making a difference.”
John comes from a family of blood donors. His dad State Sen. Steve Huffman is an ER physician and lifelong blood donor who introduced the legislation designating January as “Blood Donor Awareness Month” in Ohio. John plans to attend the University of Notre Dame.
Kayla O’Daniel, Arcanum High School: “Have the Courage of a Cowboy, Donate Blood.”
Arcanum High senior Kayla O’Daniel impressed the judges by having the courage to star in her own music video, “Have the Courage of a Cowboy, Donate Blood.” The music is inspired by the popular “Old Town Road.” In her video Kayla jumps off a horse and sings her way through directions on how to donate, finishing with the lyric, “Come on and take your arm to the old blood bank, you can help a bunch of people when you donate.”
“Courage is the ability to do something that frightens you,” said Kayla. “Many people struggle with overcoming their fears, and I believe that my theme will inspire people to gain the courage they need to donate blood.
“A lot of times, people hear about the ‘scary process’ of donating blood and they shy away from doing it. However, the music video that I developed explains the process of donating blood and encourages people to take part in donating. As I say in my song, ‘Let me ease your mind, you’ll sit back, relax, and enjoy the recline.’
“My song explains how many people are in need, the difference that just one pint of blood makes, and I even add that you get a free snack after donating. ‘Old Town Road’ highlights the strength and courage that cowboys have, and my music video does the same. The catchy song that I created will ease the minds of potential blood donors and will inspire people to have the courage of a cowboy and donate blood.”
DAYTON, Ohio – The 23rd annual Officer John P. Kalaman Memorial Blood Drive will take place Monday, April 27 in a new location and with new safeguards against the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.
The blood drive will be from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Centerville High School East Commons cafeteria, 500 E. Franklin St. Community Blood Center is advising donors to wear a face mask and to schedule an appointment online at www.DonorTime.com or call (937) 461-3220, or (937) 293-3373.
Officer Kalaman and Washington Township Firefighter Robert O’Toole were struck and killed by a motorist on Jan. 12, 1998 while responding to an accident. This year’s blood drive falls on what would have been John Kalaman’s 52nd birthday.
Since 1998 more than 4,249 units of blood have been donated in his name. But the 23rd annual blood drive will be different from any other. Due to social distancing and crowd restrictions at all blood drives, it won’t be the traditionally gathering of police, first responders, friends, and family.
For the first time since their son’s death, John and Paula Kalaman will be unable to attend.
“We recognize the necessity to that,” said John Kalaman. “We don’t have to like it, but we accept it. Paula understands. There are somethings you can’t do. She’s OK with it. Would she like to be there greeting people? Heck yes. But it will be better next year.”
Another precaution is suspending the tradition of serving donors birthday cake decorated with a Centerville Police badge. But the blood drive will carry with the same mission of helping save lives.
“I’m thankful for it,” said John. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we didn’t have any cops coming. They’re in a hard place to get things covered and do what they need to do. They’ll be there next year.”
Their son John P. Kalaman answered a call to duty and sacrificed his life. The Kalamans remain dedicated to protecting public safety workers, especially as they perform their jobs in the face of a pandemic.
“There at risk,” he said. “They can get infected when they go on a call because a person is sick, doesn’t know, doesn’t care, or is asymptomatic and passes it on. There are folks out there who have to deal with the public. It’s not, ‘I’m not going to take that call.’ That doesn’t happen. When you get the 911 call, you go.”
DAYTON, Ohio – The first COVID-19 survivors to donate plasma since the launch of the Dayton region’s COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma program donated Tuesday, April 14 at Community Blood Center. Both are frontline health and public safety workers, and both are from Miami County where an early outbreak of infections occurred.
Troy’s Steve Norris, an Oakwood police officer, firefighter and EMT, is now the area’s third CCP donor. He was followed by Tipp City’s David Summers, a physician’s assistant at Upper Valley Medical Center and manager of the emergency department PA’s.
On April 6, before the launch of the public CCP program, Community Blood Center became the first blood center in Ohio to collect plasma from a COVID-19 positive patient for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
The antibodies present in convalescent plasma may help critically ill patients fight the infection.
CBC’s public program launched on April 10 in a joint announcement with Premier Health, the first health system in the nation to enroll a recovered COVID-19 patient in this experimental therapeutic treatment using protocols established by the Mayo Clinic.
CCP donor Steve Norris said his symptoms started with a cough. He was tested for COVID-19 at UD Arena. By the time he learned he was positive for the virus he was nearly recovered. He said he learned about donating CPP from a Facebook post about the plight of an area physician critically ill with COVID-19.
“It’s good to be able to do something with this,” said Steve. “We hear all about the negative aspects of COVID and there’s plenty of them. But those who have recovered might have something in their blood to help people who are really, really sick. No sense in waiting when there are people really sick and dying.”
CCP donor David Summers was also motivated to help the physician with COVID-19. He saw the impact of COVID-19 when Miami County suffered a cluster outbreak of deadly infections at a nursing home. He then experienced it when he became infected.
“We had a lot of really sick patients early in March,” he said. “We were kind of the first to get hit. I was surrounded by it. I was one of the first people to get tested at UD.”
He isolated himself in his basement, waiting for his test result, and trying to avoid infecting his wife, their eight-year old daughter and eight-month old son.
“I didn’t want to get anyone else sick,” he said. “I just lived in the basement for two weeks. I couldn’t walk across the room to go the bathroom without being short of breath.”
He avoided going to the ER because he didn’t want to endanger his colleagues. He recovered at home, returned to work April 6, and was encouraged to donate CCP. His plasma donation Tuesday was his first ever blood donation.
“I hate the sight of my own blood, I don’t mind seeing other people’s,” he said. “But this was a special circumstance. “It’s good for people to know they can help. I know because I’m in the business.”
DAYTON, Ohio – (April 10, 2020) Community Blood Center is now recruiting eligible COVID-19 survivors to donate Convalescent Plasma (CCP). Their antibody-rich plasma has the potential to save the lives of critically ill COVID-19 patients.
Information for donors and physicians is on the CBC website www.GivingBlood.org. Potential CCP donors can review the eligibility criteria and doctors can complete the form needed to qualify the potential donor for the program.
Plasma from COVID-19 survivors is transfused to people with life-threatening coronavirus infection. The antibodies present in convalescent plasma are proteins that may help them fight the infection.
“The No. 1 criteria is that someone has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been clear of all symptoms for two weeks,” said CBC Medical Director Dr. James Alexander. “Their physician will determine if they meet the criteria and submit the completed form. Once we have confirmed their eligibility, we will then call the donor to schedule an appointment.”
Oakwood native Menachem Mendel Mangel was the first former COVID-19 patient to donate CCP at Community Blood Center. He is the 21-year-old son of Rabbi Nochum Mangel of the Chabad Lubavitch of Greater Dayton synagogue.
“My dad told me about donating (convalescent) plasma and I said I’d do it,” said Mendel, who donated on April 6. “It wasn’t too much of a debate! I’ve donated before and anything I can do to help.”
ER nurse Lindsey was the area’s second recovered COVID-19 patient to donate CCP. She was cleared to return to work at Cincinnati Christ Hospital and donated CCP at Community Blood Center on April 8.
“As a nurse, wanting to help people, with all that’s going on right now, I wanted to help as much as I can,” said Lindsey. “I know people like me who have tested positive. They’re ready and want to help as soon as they can.”
BLOOD SUPPLY UPDATE:
CBC ASK DONORS FOR COMMITMENT AS BLOOD DRIVE CANCELLATIONS ESCALATE
The regional blood supply remains at an adequate level due mainly to unprecedented low usage at area hospitals. But in the meantime, blood drive cancellations continue to escalate with now 122 blood drives cancelled with a projected loss of nearly 4,531 units.
There are many unknowns ahead as COVID-19 infection reaches its peak. Community Blood Center must prepare for the potential impact on the blood supply by asking donors to keep their commitment and make appointments to donate at www.DonorTime.com or call (937) 461-3220.
Donors may be surprised to find some blood drives filled. That’s because CBC is setting strict limits on capacity at blood drives to enforce social distancing for the safety of all donors and staff members, and to avoid over-collection on certain days. If donors find all appointments filled, they are asked to please schedule on a different day.
DAYTON, Ohio (April 9, 2020) – Local residents who have recovered from COVID-19 now have a unique opportunity to contribute to efforts to defeat the virus through the Community Blood Center’s new COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Program, which launches on Friday.
Through this initiative, COVID-19 survivors who have documentation that they tested positive for COVID-19 and are now symptom-free for at least 14 days may be able to donate plasma. Potential candidates must be at least 18 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, be in generally good health and feeling well.
“The plasma from someone who has recently been infected by COVID-19 has antibodies that may be able to fight the infection,” said Dr. James Alexander, Community Blood Center’s medical director. “The No. 1 criteria is that someone has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been clear of all symptoms for two weeks. Their physician must determine they meet the criteria before they schedule an appointment to donate.”
The Food and Drug Administration recently authorized the emergency use of convalescent plasma by physicians for current patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections, or those deemed to be at high risk. Although more research is needed in determining the effectiveness of plasma donated by those who have recovered from the virus, some evidence suggests that plasma donations can help recipients develop their own antibodies.
“People of all blood types are needed for this effort,” said Dr. Roberto Colón, system vice president of quality and safety, Premier Health. “We encourage providers in the ICU, hospitalists, and primary care providers with patients recovering from COVID-19 to follow up with their patients and make them aware of this opportunity. By donating convalescent plasma, a donor will be potentially able to save the lives of several COVID-19 patients. Because there is not an established effective treatment, this therapy will be of particular benefit to those who have more severe disease manifestations.”
Premier Health and CompuNet are providing pre-screening services for this program, with Premier Health’s foundations covering the cost, to help build a large registry of potential donors. Meanwhile, Community Blood Center is collecting, processing and distributing the plasma. Plasma will be used both for current cases at all local hospitals served by Community Blood Center, as well as stored for future use.
The Mayo Clinic confirmed that Premier Health is the first health system in the nation to enroll a COVID-19 positive patient in this therapeutic treatment using that institution’s protocols.
DAYTON, Ohio – COVID-19 infection forced ER nurse Lindsey Hayko to retreat from the frontline battle against the pandemic. She recovered, returned to work, and rejoined the fight with a new weapon: the antibody-rich plasma she donated April 8 at Community Blood Center.
Lindsey is now the area’s second recovered COVID-19 patient to donate COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP) for the treatment of those infected with the coronavirus. Her donation was for the emergency need of area COVID-19 patients. CBC is ready to open the CCP collection program to the eligible public.
Lindsey works in the ER at The Christ Hospital Health Network in Cincinnati. She heard about the plea for CCP donations from colleagues of COVID-19 patient Dr. Mukul Chandra, medical director of cardiac preventive care and research at Miami Valley Hospital.
“I had a co-worker who saw it on Facebook and told me about it, so I called,” said Lindsey. “As a nurse, wanting to help people, with all that’s going on right now, I wanted to help as much as I can.”
Lindsey isn’t sure where she contracted COVID-19. She tested positive on March 23, recovered at home, and was cleared to return to work on April 6.
“I was very fortunate,” she said. “My symptoms were not severe. I didn’t have to go to the hospital. I stayed at home for two weeks and I’m back at work.”
She doesn’t know who will receive her plasma, but said she was encouraged to hear of CCP treatments helping COVID-19 patients improve, including Dr. Chandra.
“That’s what is so exciting,” she said. “If my donation is used to help someone else, that’s great.”
CCP is transfused to people with life-threatening coronavirus infection. The antibodies present in convalescent plasma are proteins that may help them fight the infection.
CBC will soon be recruiting potential CCP donors from the general public. Lindsey was one of the first to join the effort but expects others to follow.
“I know people like me who have tested positive,” said Lindsey. “They’re ready and want to help as soon as they can.”
DAYTON, Ohio – It was against all warnings in the time of the COVID-10 pandemic for 90-year-old John Teevan to leave his Beavercreek home. But he was determined to travel to Community Blood Center early Wednesday morning April 8 to make his milestone 200th lifetime blood donation.
“I try to follow the rules and the regulations,” said John. “The governor and the president told us to stay in the house.” So why did he venture out? “This is 200 times! It’s nice with everything that’s going on, it all helps out.”
John’s daughter Lee Teevan could not talk him out of making a special visit to the Dayton CBC Donor Center for his 200th donation, despite the warnings to stay home.
Lee relented with the conditions that his appointment must be early in the morning to avoid other donors, and that he wear a protective mask.
“I’m so relieved,” said Lee, who waited in her car as her father donated. “I couldn’t sleep all night. He was ready to go!”
John is a regular donor at the Peace Lutheran Church community blood drives. He showed a similar resolve last September when he made his 198th lifetime donation at the Beavercreek Battle of the Badges Blood Drive, hosted by Peace Lutheran. It was just days after losing his wife Alice. They were married 61 years.
“She was attractive, and her personality was even better,” John said at the September blood drive. “Tomorrow’s the funeral. She donated 18 gallons of blood! I’m going to pass through this world, and I’m going to do a little bit of good while I pass through.”
As he made his 200th donation Monday at CBC John recalled that he had worn his “Smokey the Bear” t-shirt at the Battle of the Badges Blood Drive in support of the firefighters. His history as a donor goes back to when he wore a uniform.
“I started donating when I was in the Navy in Tacoma, Washington in 1952,” he said. “I donated one time in Wichita Falls, Texas at Sheppard Air Force Base. I went to school down there and they had a blood drive. I donated in quite a few states.”
Now he’s donating at time different from any other in his 90 years.
“The reason why I donate,” said John, “Some men and women donate millions of dollars. Oprah Winfrey donated $10 million to Hurricane Katrina. I can’t do that. But I can help people in the hospital who are in bad shape and need it for cancer and operations.”