Blood Assurance board hears updates on goals

By COLBY DENTON
Posted 7/12/18

Blood Assurance of Cleveland’s advisory board met on Tuesday to discuss upcoming donation events, methods of raising donations and future goals.

“We want people to know who we are, what …

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Blood Assurance board hears updates on goals

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Blood Assurance of Cleveland’s advisory board met on Tuesday to discuss upcoming donation events, methods of raising donations and future goals.

“We want people to know who we are, what we do, how we benefit the community and how the community can help Blood Assurance expand outward,” said board chairman Dewayne Belew.

The board discussed at length the collections vs. usage of blood, and had very positive results to report. According to Jay Baumgardner, Blood Assurance community relations and business development, the amount of blood donated from Jan. 1 to June 30 in 2017 was 2,042 units. This year in that same stretch of time, the company has raised 2,266 units. The Cleveland Mobile Blood Assurance vehicle also contributes a significant amount, and collected 1,087 units in 2017 and improved on that number with 1,943 units in 2018.

The bloodmobile doesn’t only stay in Bradley County though, as it goes all the way through Murphy, North Carolina. That’s even more encouraging when compared to the overall hospital usage number of 1,245 units. Numbers wise, more blood is being donated than is needed at hospitals, but Baumgardner said all donations are needed to ensure plenty of stock to choose from, and is thankful for the small surplus.

“Between O-negative blood and O-positive blood, we have a goal that’s 55 percent of our collection, so last month for the year to date, we had gone from 47 percent to 53 percent for the year, so we had a pretty big increase. If you look at 50,000 pints and 6 percent of that goes to the blood bank, you’re giving your blood bankers a lot of pressure relief when the right blood is on the shelf,” Baumgardner said.

He stressed that although there may be an abundance of blood on the shelf, it must be the right kind of blood for the situation it’s needed for.

“These are great findings,” said board member Kristina Cherry. “This tells the public that these units of blood are all being put to good use. If there is any extra, it goes somewhere else to another worthy cause.”

Belew praised Baumgardner and the team at Blood Assurance, and described them as incredibly good at what they do. He told of how larger company meetings often reference Cleveland’s Blood Assurance as the standard to emulate.

For the summer, Blood Assurance is holding a special blood-drive collections date on July 19 that will pit the Chattanooga Lookouts against the Knoxville Smokies to see which  minor league baseball team team can collect the most blood. The day is to commemorate the event that occurred in Chattanooga in June 2015, when a gunman killed five men at a U.S. Navy Reserve center and fired on a recruiting center before being killed by police.

Although the event was tragic, it motivated more blood donations in the month of June than the company had ever collected.

“We had excess amounts of blood, but we definitely needed it,” Baumgardner said. “We had one gentleman who needed 670 units, which was a combination of 350 red cells, 230 plasmas and around 100 platelets, so this guy used the same amount of blood in 24 hours that almost 75 hospitals would use in two days. It’s lifesaving.”

Those who donate for the event in Chattanooga, Cleveland, Dalton and Fort Oglethorpe will receive one free Lookouts ticket to one game from July 23-27, and a special T-shirt. All donors at the police and fire drive on Amnicola and at the downtown Chattanooga location get fresh, grilled hot dogs too! The council hopes to see numerous groups of people come out and support its cause through friendly competition.

“We are consistent on having more donors than usage, and that helps the entire organization be strong, and we want to continue that,” Belew said. “Don’t wait till the spring to donate. We need as much as we can get, especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

The most common issue that donors often cite as their reason for not coming to donate is lack of spare time. This is most prevalent during the holidays, as donating blood falls low on the list of priorities.

The organization is located at 201 Keith Street and can be reached at 423-476-3201. 

Blood Assurance of Cleveland's advisory board will meet again on October 9. 

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