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.”

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