Red Cross in need of blood donors

| January 24, 2020

COSHOCTON – If you’ve ever thought of becoming a blood donor now is the perfect time to do it.

“We go through the holidays with people traveling and being busy with everything that comes with the holidays,” said Brian Williams, account representative/donor recruitment with the Central Ohio Blood Services Region. “Then you have the weather that comes at this time of year. We’ve been lucky so far, but even when you have pouring rain and freezing temperatures people are less likely to keep appointments. Snow is a big thing too with our school drives. If school gets canceled then we lose that entire drive.”

Another problem the Red Cross faces at this time of year is people missing blood drives because of sicknesses.

“You can’t donate if you have something as simple as the common cold,” Williams said. “It’s flu season too and people are on antibiotics for things like strep throat and you can’t donate. You combine all these things together and it hurts donor turnout this time of year.”

There is currently a critical shortage of type O blood and the Red Cross urgently needs blood donors of all blood types to give now to help avoid delays in lifesaving medical care for patients.

“O is the most used so it’s a lot harder to keep on the shelves,” Williams said. “When we first went into the appeal we had less than a three-day supply on the shelf, which is cutting it pretty tight. People just assume it’s going to be there. A lot of people have no idea that blood has a shelf life. After 42 days if it’s not used we can’t use it.”

One of the main focuses of the Red Cross is trying to educate people about the constant need for blood.

“Every two seconds someone needs blood,” Williams said.

That need isn’t always from a trauma situation or surgery like many people may think.

“Three lives can be saved with one donation because it can be separated into red blood cells, platelets and plasma,” Williams said. “Someone in surgery could receive red blood cells, a severe burn victim could get plasma, a cancer patient could receive platelets, and some people need whole blood.”

Anyone interested in setting up a blood drive can call 1-800-Red-Cross or visit

“If you go online click on ‘hosting a blood drive’ and it will guide you through the whole thing,” Williams said.

Those who are interested in donating are encouraged to use RapidPass, which is available online or on the app.

“It smooths the registration process,” Williams said. “It allows you to do the pre-reading material you need to do every time you donate and answer the health history questions ahead of time. You then get a QR Code that you can take a screen shot of or print out and bring with you. It saves about 15 minutes.”

The actual donation process only takes about six minutes from the time the needle is inserted in your arm. For some people it may even be closer to three to four minutes.

“Twenty minutes is the max,” Williams said. “If you get to 20 minutes and we don’t have a unit yet we take the needle out. We want everyone to have as pleasant of an experience as possible.”

It also is helpful to eat a good meal before you donate and make sure you are hydrated with water.

“Don’t donate on an empty stomach,” Williams said. “You need to prepare your body for this, so you are less likely to have any reaction. They always say to get a good night’s sleep too.”

Upcoming Blood Drives

Jan. 31 – 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Coshocton High School (open to the public)

Feb. 12 – 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Roscoe United Methodist Church and 3 to 8 p.m., Chili Crossroads Bible Church

Feb. 17 – 2 to 8 p.m., New Castle Church in Walhonding

Feb. 20 – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Coshocton County Employees Drive at Job and Family Services

Feb. 26 – 12 to 6 p.m., Kirk Street Event Center in West Lafayette

Visit or call 1-800-Red-Cross to schedule an appointment.

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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