New donors and longtime donors alike joined together Friday, Feb. 17, at the Community Blood Center bloodmobile’s visit to Bellefontaine, for a task that they said is relatively easy and quick, but also vitally important to keeping the area’s blood supply replenished during a time of a low supply.
“What a good feeling, to know that you’re saving lives,” said David Comstock, who has been donating for about 20 years. Blood donors are able to save the lives of up to three people with just one pint of blood, and they are able to donate as often as every eight weeks, CBC officials note.
Jeanne Marmon, who lives just outside of Bellefontaine, said Friday marked her 40th time donating blood during the blood drive hosted by the United Way of Logan County at Union Station, 613 Hamilton St.
“The staff here make you feel at ease,” she said, as she was attended to by phlebotomist Suzanne Parrish. “They’re very gentle.”
Following in her late mother Rachel Roberts’ footsteps, Marmon said she is happy to help others through her donation, scheduling her appointments as often as she can.
Through the Kings Daughters organization, her mother previously helped to organize meals for blood donors, “making soup and a whole meal for them,” her daughter recounted. Marmon related that her mother also was the recipient of blood products on a number of occasions.
Comstock said he began donating blood years ago in honor of a close friend who was undergoing treatment for cancer.
“He had the same blood type as me, so that really hit home,” said the Bellefontaine resident, who marked his 67th time donating with the Community Blood Center Friday, and said he previously donated years ago through the American Red Cross as well.
“I challenge my friends and my community to donate, too.”
Cancer patients account for about one-fourth of the recipients of blood products, said Mark Pompilio, CBC public relations/marketing manager.
Pompilio and CBC Account Manager Chelsea Roberts reported that the more mild weather recently has been favorable for the area blood supply. Oftentimes during the winter, blood drive cancellations can be common as a result of snowstorms and other adverse weather conditions.
“We’ve been pretty fortunate to have a more mild February so far,” said Roberts, who manages Logan, Champaign and Clark county blood drives for the Dayton-based organization, which serves hospitals in a 15-county region and is the exclusive supplier to Mary Rutan Hospital.
Currently, the CBC has a three- to four-day supply of blood products available, which is slightly above the critical level that has been experienced in recent months.
“That can change very quickly to the critical stage, which is three days or less, so we are always keeping an eye on it,” Roberts said. “We are still very much in need of blood donations of all blood types and encourage donors to give when they can.”
“We’re winding through the last few days of winter and we have been able to assist some hospitals outside of our region with their supply, including Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus ,” Pompilio said. “We’re ready to get back to work now and are gearing up for spring.”
The CBC staff on board the bloodmobile also celebrated alongside two new donors Friday, including Megan Gerlach of Bellefontaine, who said she was a little nervous, but also excited to help out.
“I heard about the United Way’s blood drive through Facebook, and was encouraged by my family to donate and help save lives,” she said.
Between the new and longtime donors, a total of 17 individuals donated blood on Friday.
CBC Team Leader Victoria Heflin shared Friday about the process of blood donation, stating it takes about an hour in total, beginning with a donor questionnaire and then a basic physical for blood pressure, pulse, height, weight and temperature. Then the actual process of donating one pint of blood takes appropriately 8-12 minutes, depending on the person.
She recommends that individuals eat a full meal before they come in to donate, and also to make sure they are drinking lots of fluids about two weeks prior to donation.
“When you donate, you’re burning 653 calories,” Heflin said. “We give you a sweet treat and the chance to rest up after you’re all finished.”
The United Way of Logan County began hosting the Friday blood drives every eight weeks starting last spring, Executive Director Dave Bezusko said.
“We saw it as another way that we can be a partner to help support an important need in our community,” he said. “Union Station was kind enough to offer the space for our blood drives as well.”
Roberts said the recent addition of the United Way as a blood drive host, along with Richwood Bank in Bellefontaine last month as well, has been a wonderful support to the CBC and a boost to the area’s blood supply.
“Bellefontaine and Logan County have been a really fun area to get to work in. The community has been very involved,” she said. “We have our strong pillars of support with our longtime blood drives hosts, and these new additions, too.
“We’re also looking for new sites to host here, especially starting this summer, when the schools are out, which make up about 18 to 20 percent of our blood drives.”
The United Way director noted that when individuals make a blood donation through the CBC, they also receive a follow-up text or phone call just several weeks later to let them know the specific location where their blood donation was used.
“That is one of the things that is so cool about it; it’s definitely a feel-good moment when you find out it how it helped someone,” Bezusko said.
The United Way blood drives coming up this year also include the following Fridays: April 21; June 23; Aug. 25; Nov. 3; and Dec. 29; in the parking lot of Union Station. All blood drives will occur from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
In addition, the Hickory Medical community blood drive is slated for 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 208 W. Columbus Ave., Bellefontaine. The CBC Bloodmobile will be in the Bellefontaine City open parking lot.
Blood donors are encouraged to make an appointment. Walk-ins are accepted as space allows.
At the Hickory Medical blood drive, donors will also receive a “Lucky Donor” shamrock T-shirt in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Make an appointment online at www.DonorTime.com, call (937) 461-3220, or use the new Donor Time app.