The coronavirus combined with the recent snowstorms have delivered a double punch to Hoxworth Blood Center’s donation efforts, and Cara Nicolas, associate director of public relations, told The Times-Gazette that barely half of the needed donations for local hospitals have been collected.
“The ‘snow-mageddon’ where we had all that ice and snow really impacted our donor turnout and cancelled several blood drives,” she said. “We have our donor bus that goes to schools, businesses and regional hospitals, and when the roads get bad people have to work from home and can’t come out to those or to our centers.”
Nicolas said the need for blood doesn’t stop for a snow day, and with Hoxworth being the only source of blood products in the Tri-State area, they must collect a minimum of 400 units of blood and 50 units of platelets each day to keep up with the demands of the local hospitals and medical centers they serve, which includes Highland District Hospital in Hillsboro.
As an added incentive for blood donors, Hoxworth is offering $10 e-gift cards to those who donate through Sunday, Feb. 21 at any of the seven Greater Cincinnati Hoxworth centers. A listing of mobile blood drive locations in the region can be found at www.hoxworth.org.
Nicolas said Hoxworth was also offering a “refer a friend’ promotion through the end of February, where if a person refers a friend or family member to donate, both would receive a $5 e-gift card. The “refer-a-friend” link is https://hoxworth.org/donors/refer.html.
According to the Hoxworth website, its mobile donation bus will return to Highland County on six different days through mid-May.
It will be at Highland District Hospital from noon to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9; Tuesday, April 13; and Tuesday May 11.
It was also be in the parking lot of Whiteoak High School in Mowrystown on Friday, March 12 from 7:15 a.m. to 1 p.m., Family Recovery Services on Chillicothe Pike in Hillsboro on Thursday, April 15 from noon to 6 p.m., and in the community room of Lynchburg Area Joint Fire & Ambulance District at 8123 SR 135 on Tuesday, May 11 from 1-7 p.m.
Nicolas said that anyone in reasonably good health and any age can donate blood, adding that it has people in their 80s and 90s who still donate.
“You have to be at least 16 years old with parental consent or 17 years old without parental consent,” she said. “You must weigh at least 110 pounds, and generally be well and healthy. More people are eligible to donate blood than they usually think.”
Potential donors are encouraged to bring a photo ID, a list of medications they are taking and their recent travel history.
“In non-COVID times, travel was a big condition that prevented people from donating since they may have been in areas with a high risk for malaria or something like that,” she said. “You really can’t donate if you’re on a blood thinner of some kind, are currently a cancer patient undergoing treatment, and if you’ve had any type of blood cancer.”
The whole blood donation process, from filling out the paperwork through the brief health physical to actually donating blood, takes roughly 40 minutes.
“We’re going to want you to hang around for a little bit afterwards to have some fruit juice and cookies, and to make sure you’re feeling OK,” she said. “And I encourage people to grab a couple of extra cookies or some extra snacks before they leave.”
Blood donation truly is “the gift of life,” since Nicolas said that there is no substitute for blood products, adding that it can’t be created in a lab and has no artificial substitute.
“When you donate blood, you are helping people that have an immediate need for it,” she said. “With Hoxworth, your donated blood stays in your community, and since we serve over 30 hospitals in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, the blood we collect goes to those hospitals, so you could be helping your neighbor, a family member, your child’s teacher. You’re saving a life, right here at home.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.