MILE BY MILE, JOHN ANDERSON’S ‘DONOR FOR LIFE’ JOURNEY

John Anderson 200 LTD

Miamisburg donor John Anderson has lived in eight states, hiked more than 10,000 miles across 48 states, and given blood for most of his life. He marked his milestone 200th donation with Community Blood Center on Jan. 26 at the Dayton Donation Center.

“I’ve always been a donor,” John said. “I think it’s good for the body to make new blood.  Most important, I love donating blood at CBC.  It’s a community service helping others.”

He started donating when he was 19. “Back in the old days, when I would donate in the Air Force, they would give you half a day off.”

John was born in Lansing, Michigan in 1942 and his loyalty to the Wolverine State still runs deep.  When he chose the bandage color after his donation he said, “Any blue, as long as it’s Michigan!”

His dad was a Navy veteran who moved the family back to Michigan after the end of World War II.  From 1947 to 1951 they lived in government housing for vets called “Willow Run Village” where the rent was $21 a month.  “We had an ice box and a coal stove!” John recalled.

During the war, the village had served as housing for workers at the Ford Motor Company Willow Run aircraft manufacturing complex in Ypsilanti.  “They built 18,188 B-24 Liberator Bombers,” John said.  “It was the single most mass produced bomber of WW II.”

John finished his Air Force career in Florida, worked in the aerospace, modular housing and paper industries, and moved west to study computer science and business at Eastern New Mexico University.  All the while, he kept donating.

“I went to college at 30 years old on the GI bill,” he said. “I headed up getting blood donors for our blood drives.”

He took a job in Lubbock, Texas and ended up in the Miami Valley when the ownership changed hands. He worked for Appleton in West Carrollton for 20 years and retired in 2005.  He still sees old colleagues who were members of their CBC blood donation LifeLeaders team.

He lost his wife Mary Jean to respiratory illness in 1989. She was just 50 years old. “She got to see both our children graduate from high school,” he said.  John’s oldest grandchild graduated from the University of Dayton last year and two are at Ohio University.

Giving blood continued to be a passion for John, but he needed other ways to stay active. He found a new passion in “Volksmarching,” an organization of non-competitive fitness walking events, routes and clubs.  It started in Europe and came to the U.S. as the American Volkssport Association.

John is a member of the “Ohio Wander Freunde” club in Fairborn, the oldest AVA club in the U.S. He’s walked in more than 1,309 events in 48 states and logged 10,544 miles.  He’s traveled to South Dakota for the Crazy Horse monument walk, and joined 63,000 walkers for the annual crossing of Mackinac Bridget to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“When I started in ’93 we had 33 clubs in Ohio with thousands of people walking,” he said. “Now it’s down to eight clubs. The young people are just not interested.”

His walking may have been lifesaving.  There is a history of heart disease in his family, and he survived a heart attack four years ago in a close call.  “I did the dumbest thing, I drove myself to the hospital,” he said.  After recovering he spent about two years away from donating.

John was a regular platelet and plasma donor from 2011 to 2015. He returned to CBC in 2017, donating whole blood to reach his 200th milestone.  One particular memory illustrates why he remains a dedicated “Donor for Life.”

“When I did platelets they called and said we have a cancer patient, could you come in?” he said. “I got stuck in traffic and called to say I didn’t know if I could make it. They said, don’t worry, we’ll stay open.

“When I was finishing the donation they got a call from Michigan wanting to know if the product was on the road yet. You can’t have a better feeling than that.”

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DAYTON LIGHT THE NIGHT WALK AWARDS CELEBRATE BREAK-THROUGH YEAR IN FIGHT AGAINST BLOOD CANCER

Light The Night Team Awards 2017.JPG

The top fundraising teams from the 2017 Dayton Light The Night Walk gathered for the annual awards party Jan. 24 at Scene 75 in Dayton and celebrated a break-through year in the battle against blood center.

“Tonight we celebrate your accomplishments and how it made Light The Night an incredible success,” said Tom Carleton, executive director of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Tri-State Southern Ohio office.

The Community Blood Center/Community Tissue Services team placed third in corporate fundraising, and the united effort behind the Dayton LTN Walk raised $367,000, an outstanding $100,000 increase over the previous year.

A total of 142 teams circled the Fraze Pavilion in Kettering on the night of Oct. 5, 2017, compared to 99 teams in the 2016 Dayton LTN Walk.  There were 1,297 registered walkers and an estimated crowd of 2,500 walkers, volunteers and supporters.

Most significant about the 2017 Dayton LTN Walk success was its contribution to the flood of 18 drug treatments approved by the FDA in the last year, including the break-through CAR T-cell therapy, genetically re-programming T-cells to find and kill cancer cells.

“The CAR T-cell approval ushers in a new era of care,” said Tom Carleton. “It’s helping patients who had no options a year ago. All of you in this room should own that.”

LLS invested $40. 3 million in research nationally, including $1.15 million in local research. Many FDA approved cancer drugs emerge from LLS research leading to drugs originally approved for blood cancer. “It was an amazing year for LLS at the helm of approval of drugs for cancer,” Tom said.

Dayton Area Director Cris Peterson and Campaign Specialist Doug Thrush honored the 2017 team and individual award winners. “We’re not LA, we’re not Washington, D.C. We’re Dayton. We don’t have a lot of big companies,” said Cris. “But we raised $367,000!”

PMCI was again the top corporate fundraising team with $33,174, followed by Kettering Health Network with $30,640 and the CBC/CTS team with $28,785.

Donnie Hill, owner of PMCI and a past Dayton LTN Walk chairman, was the top individual fundraiser in the executive challenge with $12,501. Donnie was diagnosed with a chronic form of lymphoma (CLL/SLL) in 2008 and continues to undergo treatment.

“I ask everybody I know and I ask more than once,” said Donnie. “I shame a lot of people!”

The Warner family’s “Remember the Fallen – Fight the War(ner)” team was the top Friends and Family team with $16,206, followed by “Kwest for a Cure” with $14,194, “Team Ginger” with $10,973, “Rudistrong” with $9,353 and “Always Friends” with $7,054.

Cris announced the 2018 Dayton Light The Night Walk will be Oct. 18, two weeks later than the traditional date.  It will follow the Cincinnati LTN Walk instead of preceding it.   She did not announce the fundraising goal for 2018, but hinted at high expectations.

“We know in our hearts we can hit the $500,000 mark,” she said. “We grew $100,000 this year! It was by you guys. It was by adding teams to Light The Night.”

RIVALS FAIRMONT & ALTER UNITE TO BENEFIT COMMUNITY THROUGH BLOOD DRIVES, UNITY AWARD

Fairmont-Alter Unity Award

Unity in Community Award: Alter High CURE Club President Jesse Haeker & Alter blood drive coordinator Jeanne Kernan; Fairmont United Student Body President Cayla Teeters; Universal 1 Credit Union’s Mary Cook & Dan Gouge; Camp Kesem counselors Veronica Romo & Arrianna Rucker; Fairmont volunteers Drew Gleason & Mariah Brooks; Fairmont blood drive coordinator Corey Miller.

KETTERING, Ohio – It may have been a cold night for the Jan. 23 Fairmont vs. Alter basketball game at Trent Arena, but the “Unity in the Community” award presentation at halftime kindled warm thoughts about summer camp and helping others.

The Firebirds and Knights celebrated their third year of joining forces for the Unity campaign.  Each school hosts a Community Blood Center blood drive in the fall.  They jointly present a $1,000 award from Universal 1 Credit Union to a charity chosen by the home team at the Alter-Fairmont basketball game.

Fairmont’s Nov. 3 blood drive and Alter’s Nov. 7 blood drive totaled 268 donors, including 131 first-time donors and 217 blood donations.

As this year’s host school in the Unity campaign, Fairmont chose Camp Kesem at The University of Cincinnati to be the $1,000 Unity award recipient.  Camp Kesem is a summer camp and peer support program for children with family members fighting cancer.

Many Fairmont graduates have worked at the camp, including counselors Veronica Romo and Arrianna Rucker who accepted the Unity award on behalf of Camp Kesem.

“The kids go to the camp for free,” said Veronica. “This will help with expenses, meals and activities. We also provide care packages to kids if a family member passes away to let them know we care and that we support them.”

“It’s year-round support,” said Arrianna. “We want them to know they have another family.”

Fairmont began the school year as CBC’s regional champion in blood drive participation.  Activities Director and blood drive coordinator Corey Miller was pleased to see continued support for the fall blood drive and the Unity campaign.

“It’s great because it’s high school kids continuing the service in college they started in high school,” Corey said. “We have a lot of kids giving back.”

Last year Alter chose “Brigid’s Path” as the Unity Award recipient.  It opened in the fall of 2017 and is now providing inpatient care for babies suffering from prenatal drug exposure.

Fairmont-Alter basketball

ALIYA STINE CHALLENGES HIGH SCHOOL DONORS TO ‘BE THE RED’ WITH ‘LEAD THE WAY’ WINNING T-SHIRT DESIGN

Aliya Stine - Be The Red T-shirt

Newton High School graduate Aliya Stine did more than win a $1,000 Community Blood Center/Vectren Lead The Way Creative Scholarship with her 2017 “Be The Red” campaign.  She inspired the t-shirt design high school donors will wear this spring semester at all CBC high blood drives.

Aliya’s “Be The Red” theme combines patriotism and unity with the common bond of blood donations.  The new high school t-shirt features her drawing of a waving American flag with three red stripes and the others white and grey, and her slogan, “Without You There’s Only White and Blue – Be The Red.”

“I’m so excited for everyone donating to be able to receive this shirt,” said Aliya, now a freshman at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Her former classmates at Newton High School will receive the t-shirt when they register to donate at their Feb. 15 blood drive.

“It will be awesome to see people wearing it and being able to see it come to life. I hope people are inspired to not only donate blood, but they are inspired to put themselves out there and apply for this scholarship.”

The 2018 Lead The Way deadline is April 20.  Applicants must create a blood drive marketing campaign with a slogan and a graphic design or other marketing techniques, and explain why it would encourage fellow students to donate.

In her Lead The Way application Aliya said she chose a patriotic theme because of political unrest in the country. She hoped to encourage others to put differences aside and work together for a common good.

“The political aspect of the design is still a hot topic so I hope it will inspire people to talk about politics and share their opinions,” she said. “To everyone donating, thank you for your donation and for helping someone in need.”

Aliya is from Troy.  She is majoring in biology with the goal of becoming a physician’s assistant.

The $5,000 Lead The Way Creative Scholarship program is supported by a grant from Vectren.  CBC and Vectren annually award $1,000 in college tuition assistance to five graduating, college-bound seniors whose high school hosts a CBC blood drive.

Applications must be postmarked by April 20. Examples of winning campaigns and the 2018 scholarship application are available at http://www.GivingBlood.org.  For more information contact Cristina Pickle at BloodEducation@GivingBlood.org.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN! AL WHITNEY IS ON 2ND ROUND OF DONATING PLATELETS ACROSS AMERICA

Al Whitney with CBC Amanda Wilson

Community Blood Center is on a mission in 2018 to recruit more platelet and plasma donors, and there may no greater champion of the cause than “Platelets Across America” founder Al Whitney.

Al roamed the country in his RV from 2007 to 2012, donating platelets in every state.  The Cleveland native first visited CBC in 2008 during his “Platelets Across America” tour. He’s back on the road for a second round, and included a return trip to the Dayton CBC.

On his Jan. 5 visit to CBC he made his 874th lifetime blood donation. His total is a combination of 834 platelet donations and 40 whole blood donations. He’s now halfway through his second round of donating in every state.

“I kept calling blood centers and going again,” he said. “I didn’t set a goal. But about six months ago I thought I could do a second time. I already had a bunch done and decided I would continue. Now I’m at 25.”

At age 80, the tour is more than a bucket list itinerary. “It’s not just me going around giving platelets,” said Al. “It’s me convincing people to be blood donors.”

Many of CBC’s most dedicated platelet and plasma donors are of Al’s generation. About 53 percent of the CBC donor base is over the age of 50.  The blood components of platelets and plasma are essential clotting mechanisms for the human body and can only come from volunteer donors through the process of apheresis.  They are vital for the treatment of cancer patients and emergency room patients.

Enlisting blood donors is Al’s calling. He coordinated weekly blood drives for 15 years in his hometown of Avon Lake.  He donated the equivalent of five gallons of whole blood before becoming an apheresis donor. “I do platelets because I can give 24 times a year,” said Al.

He’s seen the technology change and has become a student of the procedure. He travels with meticulously kept records of his donations, including platelet counts and eligibility status.  Less experienced phlebotomists might find themselves getting tutoring tips from Al throughout the donation.

“I don’t walk in and say, ‘Here I am, wonderful me,’” said Al. “I call, introduce myself, let them know about me. The door is open.”

His last out-of-state donation was in St. Louis on Dec. 28. He’ll wait until spring before adding Washington to his second “Platelets Across America” tour.  Across the miles from blood bank to bank, he has a simple explanation for what keeps him going:

“Somebody that’s in the hospital that needs blood,” said Al. “Walk through a cancer ward and you’ll see what I mean.”

‘BOY SCOUT BUCKEYE’ DONOR RUSSELL BELUE CELEBRATES SUCCESSFUL SEASON WITH OSU BLANKET

Russell Belue - OSU afghan winnerMiamisburg donor Russell Belue is an Ohio State fan who finished the 2017 season on a roll. He celebrated a Buckeye victory in the Cotton Bowl by winning the drawing for Fran Duell’s classic handcrafted “OSU Afghan.”

Russell claimed his prize when he stopped by the Dayton Community Blood Center Jan. 17 for his 46th lifetime blood donation.

“I’m a huge Buckeye fan,” said Russell. “I said hey – an afghan blanket!  I saw it and it looked really cool.”

Russell is a regular platelet donor.  He entered the drawing for the afghan on Dec. 21 with his ninth donation of the year.  He started donating at Miamisburg High School in 2001 and made his first platelet and plasma donation in 2007.

The drawing for the OSU Afghan began during Michigan Week and continued through the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29.  It was impressive run for the Buckeyes who thumped their rivals, beat Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship game, then dominated the University of Southern California in the Cotton Bowl.  “It was an amazing win,” said Russell. “It was fun to watch.”

Russell’s loyalty to the Buckeyes began at a young age when he got to watch them up close in “The Shoe.”

“Back when I was 11 I was in the Boys Scouts,” he said. “OSU had a program where Scouts could go up and help people find their seats and watch the game for free. My troop was really interested and I got to watch two or three games a year in the Horseshoe.  There’s nothing like it!

MARATHONER TONY LEHMAN IS IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL WITH HIS 100TH LIFETIME DONATION

Tony Lehman 100 LTD jackeet

Centerville donor Tony Lehman is in it for the long haul.  He’s a marathon runner who wants to complete a 26.2 miler in every state.  He’s also a “Donor for Life” who crossed the finish line of his 100th lifetime blood donation Jan. 16 at the Dayton Community Blood Center.

Tony tries to average four whole blood donations a year. He made five donations in 2017 and reached his milestone with his first donation of 2018.  He had the satisfied looked of a runner making a victory lap.

“It means that I’ve been able to contribute something to society,” Tony said. “It’s something I can do, and it’s being used for some good. Not everyone can, but I’m able to.”

For the record, Tony now has 100 donations with CBC.  “My original donation was in ’93 when I lived in Fort Wayne,” he said.  “My actual total is 118.  I started donating with CBC in ’98 when I moved to Centerville.”

Tony works in commercial real estate and takes advantage of a flexible schedule to keep his consistent donation schedule.  He’s motivated because he knows his blood type is O positive, the universal donor type for all Rh positive patients.

Staying healthy has been a big part of reaching 100 donations, and he must balance his donations with his training and racing.  “I don’t donate when I’m getting ready to run a marathon,” he said. “I’m trying to run a marathon in every state and I have 18 to go! My last one was in November in Philadelphia, and my plan is to run one in Salt Lake City on April 21.”

But first he will take time to celebrate. “I’m thinking of a big steak dinner tonight!” he said. Tony and his wife Toni have three daughters, and the oldest is also a blood donor.

He’s quick to acknowledge the cuteness of being part of a “Tony and Toni” couple. “All our emails start with ‘TNT’ for Tony ‘n Toni,” he said. “We’re dynamite, baby!”