Will Huffman donating

Why has State Representative Stephen Huffman from Miami County introduced legislation to designate January as “Blood Donor Awareness Month” in Ohio?  This conversation will explain.

“I grew up in West Milton and went to Milton-Union High School.  I went to University of Toledo for undergraduate – played football there – and then to medical school at Toledo when it was called the Medical College of Ohio.

My mom and dad gave blood on a regular basis. When I was a resident at ‘St. E’ (now the Medical Center at Elizabeth Place) I saw people that I order to be given blood, how important it was to give blood, and the whole process.

I started donating when I was at St. E.  I found out I was O negative and CMV negative I would come down to the Dayton Community Blood Center and donate on a regular basis, while I was a resident and afterwards.

(Note: Steve is both a “Universal Donor” and a “Baby Donor.” His blood type is O negative, which any patient in need can receive. He’s also a CMV-negative donor, which means he has not been exposed to the cytomegalovirus.  Hospitals prefer CMV-negative blood for units to ensure the safety of blood transfusions to newborns).

My wife Kathryn and I met when we were both undergraduates at Toledo.  She went to law school while I was in medical school and is now a guardian ad litem (a person appointed by the court to represent the best interests of the child in court proceedings) in Miami and Darke Counties.

Our first child (daughter Libby) was born when I was at St. E and was six months old when we went overseas for a year and half to help the underserved with medical needs. It was important to my wife and I.

On Feb. 10, 1998 my son Will and his twin sister Allison were born at Miami Valley Hospital at 28 weeks, 12 weeks premature.  They spent six weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit.  The neonatologist said he would benefit from receiving blood. I made the arrangement for a direct donation.

As a parent, if you could give that to your child, and having been a blood donor for a long time, it wasn’t new to me. They were very good at Miami Valley to let us do that.

My son graduated from Chaminade Julienne High School last year first in his class and a National Merit Scholar.  He was recently named a Fulbright Scholar. Will and Allison are both freshman in the Honors College at Notre Dame. Our daughter Ashely is a sophomore at Notre Dame and our son Jack is a freshman at Chaminade Julienne High School.

The last 10 years have been sporadic donating because of deferrals for overseas travel. My daughter Libby is a senior at Xavier University and for spring break we took her to the Dominican Republic for a medical mission and that put me out for a year. She’s going to be in medical school next year.

I donated double red blood cells on Feb. 20 (Steve’s 55th lifetime blood donation).   For the last nine years we’ve been taking a CJ group to Belize for a service trip. We go to a school and paint, clean, build – whatever they need us to do.  The next trip will be in June.

As a physician I practice emergency medicine (at the Upper Valley Medical Center and Wayne Health). I appreciate what Community Blood Center does for my patients and other people. My son knows what he needed when he was born.  I was happy to be able to donate to him and to others that were in need of my blood.

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