Rep. Steve Huffman with CBC Jodi Minneman

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – America’s Blood Centers, North America’s largest network of independent blood centers, honored Rep. Stephen Huffman (R-Tipp City) for his leadership in raising statewide awareness about blood donations with the 2018 Larry Frederick Award presented at the 21st Annual Awards of Excellence ceremony March 19 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The Awards of Excellence recognize individuals and organizations across North America who made outstanding contributions in promoting blood donation and improving transfusion medicine.

Community Blood Center in Dayton nominated Rep. Huffman for the Larry Frederick Award for introducing House Bill 252, designating January as “Blood Donor Awareness Month” in Ohio.  He guided it through unanimous approval in both the House and Senate and to the desk of Gov. John Kasich who signed it into law on Feb. 8.

Rep. Huffman is chairman of the House Health Committee, an emergency room physician, and a life-long blood donor.

Huffman was unable to accept the award in person due his legislative schedule.  But he recorded his acceptance remarks while donating double red blood cells at the Dayton CBC for his 57th lifetime donation.

“I am very humbled and honored to receive the Larry Frederick Award,” Huffman said.  “As a physician and regular blood donor, I understand and appreciate the demand for blood products and the life-saving impact a blood donor can make.

“The need for blood donations is ever-present and it is my hope that House bill 252 will help draw further attention to that need and inspire everyone to donate blood and save a life.”

The Larry Frederick Award honors an individual for community leadership in raising awareness of the need for blood donations.  The award is named for former police officer and national blood donations advocate Larry Frederick.  In 1982 he was severely injured in a high speed collision and needed 110 units of blood to survive.

“Rep. Huffman asked us to support House Bill 242 and we were honored to give proponent testimony before the House and Senate,” said CBC Chief Operating Officer Jodi Minneman, who accepted the Larry Frederick award on Huffman’s behalf.  “His work as a legislator, a physician and a blood donor is inspirational.  We are proud to call him a true friend of Community Blood Center.”



Pirates Gunner, Campbell

RICHMOND, Indiana – The sixth annual Cooper Newton Memorial Blood Drive came on St. Patrick’s Day, but the Newton family from Cambridge City knows little boys prefer pirates.  So they celebrated their son’s memory with Jack Sparrow and Peter Pan instead of leprechauns and shamrocks.

The annual blood drive is a traditional birthday celebration for Cooper, who died from complications related to the congenital disorder Noonan syndrome when he was just seven months old.  Cooper’s parents Beth and Clint challenged donors to join “our courageous Captain Cooper’s Pirate Birthday Crew!” and a total of 45 donors came aboard for the March 17 blood drive at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Richmond.

“I work with Beth, and came last year,” said donor Alaina Moore.  Her nine and eight-year old daughters Tabatha and Jazmine watched their mom donate and enjoyed the pirate-theme treats in the Donor Café.  Despite a busy Saturday schedule, the blood drive was a top priority. “I had to get it done,” Alaina said.

Cooper’s older brothers Gavin and Gunner dressed in “Pirates of the Caribbean” outfits and played with plastic swords.  Three-year old sister Campbell wore a pirate dress. The party snacks included goldfish crackers, gummy worms and “pirate’s gold” peanut butter cups.

Cooper was born March 22, 2012 and was three months old when diagnosed with Noonan syndrome, a genetic disorder that prevents normal development in various parts of the body.  Bleeding and clotting disorders are among the many complications. Cooper received blood transfusions during treatment for leukemia.  He died from heart and lung failure on Oct. 12, 2012.

After Cooper’s death the Beth and Clint became active with the Noonan Syndrome Foundation to support patient families.   “I would encourage anyone interested in learning more to visit the Foundation website and the Facebook page,” said Beth. “You can ask questions and even vent when you’re having a bad day.

Little was known about Noonan Syndrome when Cooper was diagnosed.  Beth says recognizing warning signs during pregnancy can lead to an earlier diagnosis and a better chance at fighting the disease.

“Any parent with children with special needs, they learn even more than the doctors often know. They can often provide additional support because they are living it every day.”

Newton Family


Carroll High blood driveDAYTON, Ohio –   Carroll High School’s spring blood drive on Friday, March 16 completed the Patriots’ first “Unity in the Community Campaign” with rival Chaminade Julienne High School.  A youth movement of donors and volunteers are now ready to take lead in next year’s campaign.

Carroll and CJ are the most recent rival schools to join forces in the Unity Campaign sponsored by Universal 1 Credit Union and Community Blood Center. The schools help save lives by hosting blood drives and improve lives in the community by choosing a recipient of the $1,000 Unity Award.

Carroll’s blood drive was a strong finish for the Unity Campaign with 90 donors, 42 first-time donors and 77 donations for 113 percent of the collection goal.  The combined total from the Carroll and CJ blood drives was 181 donors, 91 first-time donors and 151 donations.

CJ presented the Unity award during halftime of the Feb 11 CJ vs. Carroll basketball game.  CJ was the home team and chose the “Brigid’s Path” treatment center for drug-exposed infants as this year’s recipient.

A committee of volunteers organizes Carroll’s annual fall and spring blood drives. In the 2018-2019 school year it will be Carroll’s turn to choose the Unity Award recipient.

“It will be the committee,” said CHS blood drive coordinator and faculty member Laura Wright. “This year we have a lot of freshman and sophomores working on the blood drive.”

Freshman Ryan Ballou is the young chairman of the blood drive committee. “I really think of ways to get involved in the community,” said Ryan, who started logging service hours while in grade school and volunteers during summers with a disabled children’s therapy program.

“Blood drives are good way to help in our community and our school,” he said.

“Someone told me that donating helps and I’m always willing to help people,” said first-time donor Michael Egodotaye. “When you donate blood it helps save life.”

Many of the first-time donors Friday were sophomores who became eligible to donate when they turned 16. “I know a lot of people need it,” said sophomore Katie Kiesel.

“I absolutely despise needles, I’m not a needle fan,” said sophomore Michael Gruhot. “But it seems like a good thing to do help people out.”

Senior Nathan Fitterer set an example for the underclassmen by making his fourth lifetime donation. “It’s fun to do, and I’m helping when I do it,” he said. “I like it.”

Carroll Unity volunteers


Todd Engel St. Pat 113 LTD

Miamisburg donor Todd Engel teaches at Miami Valley Career Technology Center and he saved his best leprechaun outfit for the last day of school before St. Patrick’s Day. It was also a lucky day to make his 113th lifetime blood donation.

Todd donated platelets Thursday, March 15 dressed in green shirt, beige vest and a jumbo shamrock pattern bowtie, plus green socks with shamrocks.

“My dad was a teacher, and he passed it down to me so I’m carrying the torch!” said Todd.  The tradition calls for wearing a different Irish-themed outfit every day of the week leading up to St. Patrick’s Day.  Thursday’s outfit was the most flamboyant of the week.

“We’re off tomorrow (March 16) so I would have worn it Friday,” he said.  “I had four different outfits leading up to it and about every day I had students come up to me and say, ‘Is today St. Patrick’s Day?’”

Todd teaches Youth Connections at MVCTC.  Though his dad began the St. Patrick’s wardrobe tradition, their inspiration comes from his Irish heritage. “My grandmother was a Foley on my dad’s side,” he said.


Bobby McIntosh 100 LTD jacket

Moraine donor Bobby McIntosh knows his life has hit the jackpot in so many ways. His milestone 100th lifetime donation on March 7 at the Dayton Community Blood Center was just the latest reason to celebrate.  It’s a tribute to the “re-birthday” he shares with his daughter Sara, who owes her life to blood donations.

Some will recognize Bobby for his run of good luck in 2011. He visited the Dayton CBC to donate less than a week after winning $43,000 on the Cash Explosion TV game show.  He knew then that his true good fortune had come five years earlier with the medical technology that saved his daughter.

“That’s how I got started,” Bobby said.  In 2006, Sara was a 19-year old college freshman when a virus attacked her heart, causing it to nearly fail.  “She crashed and they rushed her into open-heart surgery right away,” said Bobby.

Her only chance was to allow the heart to rest and recover. Her doctors massaged the heart then connected it to the relatively new BiVAD biventricular assist device.

“They let it do the work.” Bobby said. “On the third day they said, ‘We think we have a very good chance of saving her heart.’ The next day they surprised me with a birthday party for me.”

After seven days her heart could beat on its own without the BiVAD. “Now we celebrate our ‘birthday’ together, of her coming off the heart machine,” Bobby said.

“We started donating blood, my wife Nancy and I,” said Bobby. “It woke us up. Right after she got out of the hospital we signed up and we’ve been donating ever since.”

Bobby donated whole blood until 2010 then became an apheresis donor. “I asked about it,” he said. “I said I’d like to give platelet sand plasma too because that way I could replace everything my daughter needed.”

He has replaced the blood Sara used and more. He averaged about a dozen donations per year, made 15 donations in 2017 and reached his 100 milestone with his sixth donation of 2018.

Sara is now 31, married and has a three-year old daughter named Isabel. Bobby is a proud grandpa, showing off photos on his mobile phone.

The good fortune of his Cash Explosion winnings helped him purchase a 142-acre farm in Lewisburg, Kentucky. The land had been in the family since 1872. “I built a pole barn on the farm and it’s beautiful!” he said.

His proudest legacy is as a blood donor.  He remembers being asked to make a special donation soon after retiring from GM in 2008. “They said I was a perfect match for a child at Dayton Children’s, so I came up and gave double reds,” Bobby said. “They sent it up to Children’s right away. It was a good feeling.”


Mighty Matthew Student Council

CARLISLE, Ohio – How mighty was the support for the “Mighty Matthew Blood Drive” March 8 at Carlisle High School? Enough to fill the donor beds, and see students lining up to buy snow cones during a snow squall to help a fifth-grader in his fight against blood disease.

The Carlisle community has rallied for months behind 10-year old Matthew Harrison and his family as he undergoes treatment for leukemia. He earned a nickname for his toughness, especially during a month-long hospital stay to fight off a liver infection.  “They always say ‘Might Matthew’ because he likes super heroes,” said CHS Senior Class President Jacob Gill.

CHS hosts two Community Blood Center blood drives a year and the Student Council thought it was a natural fit to dedicate the spring blood drive to Matthew. It was an odd fit to see the tropical-colored “Kona Ice” truck on campus selling snow cones during a sudden blast of winter weather. But students braved the chill knowing Kona was donating half of all sales to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

“He appreciates it,” said Matthew’s brother Noah, a sophomore at CHS.  He said Matthew is determined to get well, get back to school and “He’s trying to get into golf!”

Noah’s classmates Meghan Minton and Luke Plummer turned 16 in time to be eligible to make their first donations at the “Mighty Matthew” blood drive. “Because this is a good cause,” said Luke as he sat with Noah in the Donor Café.

“I was really nervous,” said Meghan. “At first I wasn’t going to do it, and I found out who it was for. My little sister Mikayla is in Matthew’s grade.”

“We have a wait list,” said Jacob about sign-ups for the blood drive. “This one is jam packed.”

“It definitely upped the interest,” said blood drive coordinator and Student Council faculty advisor Samantha Lee. “When we did the one for Zach it filled up too.”

The students donating for Matthew Thursday were in grade school when CHS hosted the 2013 “Zeus Soldiers Blood Drive” in memory of student-athlete Zach “Zeus” Richards two months after he lost his battle against leukemia.  Students collected teddy bears for young hospital patients as a tribute to Zach.

Matthew’s long hospitalization was a serious set-back, but CHS responded with a surge of support at the Jan. 19 basketball game against Preble-Shawnee High School.  “We had a bucket for financial donations and raised over $1,000,” said Jacob. “We had a ‘green out’ for him. That’s his favorite color and everyone wore green, even the other team wore green for him.”

“My brother goes to the middle school and they had fundraisers for him,” said Sophomore Class President Ande Allison. There was also a football game tribute in the fall, with a fundraising raffle and the players signing a game ball for Matthew.

Some of the most personal tributes now come from students donating in his honor. Senior Macie Baker has been a CHS donor since her sophomore year.  She made her fifth lifetime donation at the blood drive for “Mighty Matthew” and said, “I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss it today.”

Snow cones - Lucas Reynolds, Jordan Whitford


Vicki Kemmerer 100 LTD.JPG

Belmont donor Vicki Kemmerer was once a “California girl,” chasing fruit flies for a living as an agriculture expert in the vineyards of the Napa Valley.   But her home base in the Miami Valley is where she chose to retire, and it’s where she made her “vintage” 100th lifetime blood donation Feb. 27 at the Dayton Community Blood Center.

“I knew it was coming,” she said of her milestone donation. “You never know about hemoglobin. It was too low the last time I tried. But I have something I can give to somebody.”

Vicki is a “universal donor” with blood type O negative, which any patient in need can receive. She’s also a CMV-negative donor, meaning she has not been exposed to the cytomegalovirus.  Hospitals prefer CMV-negative units for children and especially newborns.

Vicki grew up in Kettering and moved to California as a teen.  Her “Donor for Life” journey to 100 donations began at age 19 while attending College of the Desert in Cathedral City.  “The first time I donated, I fainted!” she said.

She finished her degree in biology at San Francisco State University.  She found herself on an unexpected career path when the Mediterranean fruit fly invaded California.

“They needed biologists,” she said. “It was my job to place traps, move them around, and catch fruit flies. It was so much fun! I got to be outdoors all the time.”

The job was my no means “fruitless.”  She rose in the ranks to become Deputy Agricultural Commissioner in Napa County.  She spent more than 20 years watchdogging the agricultural industry and enforcing environmental standards.

After retiring in 2010 she moved back home to care for her mother, who will be 87 in April.  She has two daughters – one in California and the other in South Carolina – and two grandchildren.

“I loved the weather,” she said about the California life. “But when you first move there from Ohio you wonder ‘Where’s all the green?’ Everything seems brown.  I like to have four seasons.”

Vicki stays busy with volunteer work.  She’s the treasurer of the Centerville Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association and edits the newsletter for the Hadassah Dayton Chapter of the Women’s Zionist Organization of America.

She also plans to keep donating.  “You can help someone else,” she said. “I might as well give it away!”