Can you help? Blood donors awareness month continues for third year with drives in Butler County

A person donates blood. James Harrison of Australia (not pictured) is retiring after donating blood on a weekly basis for decades. (Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)

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A person donates blood. James Harrison of Australia (not pictured) is retiring after donating blood on a weekly basis for decades. (Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)

January marks the third year of the Ohio Blood Donor Awareness month, meant to bring attention to those who make lifesaving donations of blood and plasma, especially throughout the pandemic.

During the winter months blood banks face their own set of unique challenges that keep people from donating blood or plasma. Before the pandemic, winter months brought their own bout of seasonal ailments, especially the flu, which can keep people from donating.

The threat of snow storms can cancel or postpone blood drives and the holiday bustle keeps people busy during December. The winter challenges accompanied with the ongoing pandemic brought a realm of new hurdles for everyone this year, including the Community Blood Center, which holds blood drives throughout Butler and Warren counties.

“When it really started to grow rapidly as a public health concern, back in the spring, blood drives just started cancelling like dominoes. The schools staying home was the first big indicator,” said Community Blood Center marketing associate Mark Pompilio.

However, with mostly everyone sheltering in place during the beginning of the pandemic, incidents were down that require blood transfusions. This took some of the stress off the blood centers collection efforts.

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According to the American Red Cross nearly 21 million blood components are transfused each year throughout the country. Blood donations are important as they are used for emergencies like car accidents and surgeries. Pompilio said blood components can’t be created in a lab and must be a human volunteer donation which he recognizes could prove to be an inconvenience to some donors.

“This is the month to thank people for that, this is the time to thank the volunteer blood donors,” he said.

Donations have started to increase for the center as people come to them directly to donate rather than waiting for the rescheduling of blood drives.

The month of blood drives in Butler County continues at Oxford Presbyterian Church on Friday from 9-4 p.m., at Hamilton’s Zion Lutheran & The Presbyterian Church on Jan. 21 to 2-6:30 p.m., at the Fairfield Fire Department on Jan. 25 from 2:30-6:30 p.m. and at Fairfield’s Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church on Jan. 28 at 3-7 p.m.

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