DAYTON, Ohio – Miami County lawmaker Steve Huffman took care of some unfinished business on Jan. 10 at the Dayton Community Blood Center.
Huffman, a lifelong blood donor and an ER doctor, sponsored House Bill 252 to designate January “Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month” while representing the Ohio House 80th district. Three days after his swearing-in as the newly-elected member of the Ohio Senate 5th district, he joined family members in adding their donations to the first celebration of “Blood Donor Awareness Month.”
Steve and his wife Kathryn donated with three of their five children. Daughter Ashley and twins Will and Allison were available because they were home on holiday break from the University of Notre Dame.
“They’re modeling after me and my wife, who modeled after my parents, to give on a regular basis,” said Steve. “They started in high school and like a lot of people they just need a little reminder. That’s what Blood Donor Awareness Month is all about: a reminder to give blood on a regular basis as often as you can.”
The opportunity to donate with his son Will is especially meaningful to Steve. The twins were born 12 weeks premature and spent six weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. Will needed a transfusion and Steve donated directly for his son.
Steve encouraged his children to begin donating in high school. He envisioned “Blood Donor Awareness Month” as a way to inspire a new generation of blood donors.
“I think it’s great getting into the high schools,” he said. “The earlier you can spark donating with young people, the more likely they’re going to be lifelong donors.”
Blood Donor Awareness Month is an opportunity for CBC to emphasize its strategic goals for 2019: Welcome new donors; encourage current donors to donate “one more time” than planned; and identify and recruit new platelet and plasma donors.
Platelets and plasma are clotting agents that are critical for the care of trauma patients, cancer patients, transplant, and burn patients.
“They’re needed in the ER and after surgery and trauma just as much as whole blood,” said Huffman, an ER physician at TeamHealth. “They are life-saving, especially in the ER, where you use plasma to increase volume. Trauma patients lose so much blood they need the protein in the plasma to get back to their natural state.”
“Platelets are used in the ER to stop bleeding,” he said, “and they are used for cancer patients because the chemotherapy they are getting has decreased their own system’s ability to make platelets.”
Part of CBC’s goal for 2019 and beyond is to provide the opportunity to donate platelets and plasma at more mobile blood drives. “I think it’s great that CBC has so many different areas to set up and to partner with so many churches and other sponsors to provide the opportunity to give blood products,” he said.