DAYTON — Community Blood Center officially kicked-off the first state-wide celebration of January Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month Friday, Jan. 4 with a call for more people to join a new generation of blood donors in 2019 and beyond.
CBC Chief Operating Officer Jodi Minneman thanked Rep. Steve Huffman of Miami County, an ER physician and lifetime blood donor, for sponsoring House Bill 252 to declare January “Blood Donor Awareness Month.” CBC gave proponent testimony before the House and Senate Health Committees and the bill was signed into law on Feb. 8, 2018.
“We’re here today to thank Steve Huffman and endorse the legislation’s stated goals,” said Minneman. “We want to raise awareness about the necessity of blood donations, to encourage more people to donate, and to honor all donors for helping save the lives of fellow Ohioans.”
Minneman also announced CBC’s top strategic goal for 2019 of identifying and recruiting more platelet and plasma donors. These blood components are critical for the care of trauma patients, cancer patients, transplant, and burn patients.
She emphasized the need for a new generation of donors to take the place of lifetime donors who are approaching an age when they many no longer be able to donate and might eventually need blood.
“We ask anyone who has never given blood to consider donating for the first time,” she said. “And if you are already a donor, consider giving one more time than you may have planned.”
Several honored guests of CBC spoke at the kick-off celebration:
• Wendell Clark from Eaton — CBC’s all-time top donor with 683 lifetime donations.
“We need to keep recruiting more young people because the donor base is getting older and we need replacements for them.”
• Katie Ellis from Kettering — CBC’s top female donor with 532 lifetime donations.
“It’s only an hour and a half out of my day and it’s no big deal,” said Katie. “I want to be able to help anybody I can. It’s just a way to give back and it doesn’t cost you anything to give a pint of blood to help somebody.”
• Susan Leugers from Botkins — Started the annual Chelsea Lukey Memorial Blood Drive in memory of the daughter she lost to pancreatic cancer at age 22.
“I think that anybody that can give blood should,” said Susan. “Four years ago I started the blood drive in honor of my daughter and it’s very well attended by people from Botkins. I’m proud of our community and I’m proud of the people who step up to the plate and donate blood.”
• Kelly Schmitmeyer from Anna — Kelly was scheduled to make her 44th lifetime donation the day she suffered a pulmonary embolism that nearly claimed her life. She received eight blood and platelet transfusions and was resuscitated several times. Kelly can no longer donate but her entire family now donates in her honor.
“I was always a routine blood donor and while I knew it was important and a good thing to do, it never had the impact it did when I became a recipient of blood in December of 2017,” said Kelly. “In my recovery time the one question that continued to cross my mind was ‘What if the blood hadn’t been available for me?’ Giving blood really does save lives and so that’s my encouragement to everyone. What an easy way to save lives by giving blood. It truly is needed and you never know when you might be a recipient yourself.”