The American Red Cross holds numerous blood drives at Grace United Methodist Church annually and just completed the second blood drive of the year.
The blood drives are held at the church every other month, located at 301 E. Market St. in Washington C.H. Due to COVID-related concerns, the entrance being used for the blood drives is off of North North Street.
For the remainder of 2021, the drives are scheduled at Grace United Methodist Church from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 1, Aug. 17, Oct. 12, and Dec. 14.
It is preferred that donors schedule an appointment to give, but a limited number of walk-ins are accepted as, according to volunteer coordinator Miracle Holsinger, she does not like to turn donors away.
“We have a lot of regulars that come to every blood drive,” said Holsinger.
According to Holsinger, those that have had the COVID-19 vaccine can still give blood as of now.
“You can give blood as long as you have no symptoms. Like if you have a fever or anything — and we do check your temperature when you come in,” said Holsinger. “If you don’t feel good, don’t come.”
There are two options for giving based off qualifications. The first is a whole-blood donation in which blood, plasma and platelets are donated and later filtered in a lab. The second is a Power Red Cell donation (previously known as Double Red Cell donation), which filters the donation in the same sitting and gives both plasma and platelets back to the donor.
Those 16 and older can give a whole-blood donation in Ohio with signed parental consent. Those 17 and older do not need a permission slip to donate. The whole-blood donation can be given every other month at six times maximum a year.
Once filtered, whole-donations will go to three different recipients as platelets, plasma and red blood cells are all filtered and sent to where they are needed.
For power red donation, there are stricter criteria as double the amount is donated in one sitting. Males must be 5’1” or taller and 150 pounds or heavier. Females must be 5’5” or taller and 175 pounds or heavier.
Donors for Power Red must be in good health and at least 17-years-old, although it is recommended females wait until age 19 or older. Eligible blood types include O, A-negative, and B-negative. Power donations can only be given three times per year (once every 112 days).
Deb Workman, a mobile unit charge for American Red Cross, said, “I’ve been with the Red Cross for over 12 years. I’ve been a Mobile Unit Charge for 11 years. I never had to learn to use this machine (for power donation) but, during the pandemic, the Red Cross said they needed seasoned staff to know the machine. So, this past summer I went through extensive training to learn this machine and, I’ve got to tell you, I’m sold on it on both ends. It’s on the recipient’s end and the donor’s end.”
Workman further explained that with the power donation, there is less chance of dehydration as the plasma and platelets go back to the donor along with some saline, and the only thing that has to be done to the donation is to have it tested, then it can be sent straight to trauma centers or where it is needed. Meanwhile, whole-blood donations must go to a lab to be filtered and requires a lot of hydration on the donor’s part.
There are some side effects that could be experienced such as a copper taste in the mouth.
“Hydration is key for any donation — I cannot say that enough times,” said Workman.
Local citizen Wayne Case has been donating since 2013 and gave a power donation during the recent blood drive.
“I was never able to do it while I was working. I could never schedule appointments. When I retired, I decided it was time to do it,” said Case.
Locations that donations are sent to are tracked, and donors are able to see where their donation ended up.
Molly Mickle, local community member and advisor for the All-N-One 4-H club, has been a longtime donor. She explained she used to donate at a site in Columbus while working there but, since retirement approximately nine years ago, has been donating at the Grace United Methodist location. During the recent drive, she gave a whole-blood donation.
“It’s just nice to know that some stranger is better today or maybe they’ve got a couple more days, or their life is better — and all I did was give blood. It’s not that hard,” said Mickle. “And the personal satisfaction of knowing I gave, I tried, I helped. And they are always so nice up here.”
Workman explained, “my sister is a life-long donor, my parents were life-long donors. But my sister—she doesn’t have a lot of money, and I asked her one time, ‘Why do you donate, Shelly? What got you to?’ She said, ‘I don’t have money to give.’ She said, ‘if this takes an hour, half-hour, 45 minutes out of my day every eight weeks, this is my way of donating.’”
Workman explained that at first, working for the Red Cross was just that — working a job, until per mother passed.
“As a person that lost their mother that was the matriarch of my family, there was a part in me that grew very angry with the Red Cross, because our logo for all these years was ‘blood saves lives.’ I watched my mother receive blood after blood after blood, and I got very angry and said, ‘it didn’t save her life.’ At the time, my daughter worked here with us also. And it took a 22-year-old at the time to put me in my place and say, ‘Mom, it helped (grandma) have a batter day sitting outside with her flowers — that gave her some life.’ So, yeah, we do save lives,” said Workman.
Other upcoming drives, according to the Red Cross website are:
-Thursday, April 15 at Grace United Methodist Church, 301 E. Market Place, from 1-6 p.m.
-Friday, April 23 at Fayette County Victim Witness Division, 133 S. Main St., from 1-6 p.m.
-Monday, May 10 at Crossroads Christian Church, 175 Halliday Way, from 1-7 p.m.
-Saturday, June 5 at Masonic Lodge, 23 S. Main St. in Jeffersonville, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
-Thursday, June 10 at Fayette County Memorial Hospital, 1510 Columbus Ave., from 1-6 p.m.
-Friday, July 9 at Fayette County Victim Witness Division, 133 S. Main St., from 12-6 p.m.
-Saturday, July 31 at Jeffersonville Lions Club, one Railroad St. in Jeffersonville, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For more information or to schedule a donation, visit www.redcrossblood.org/.
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.