March 21, 2022

COLDWATER, Ohio - Mercy Health Hospital celebrated a new opportunity to help patients in a time of need on March 19 by hosting the hospital's first blood drive with Community Blood Center.

Saturday's blood drive in the Mercer Health Conference Room totaled 30 donors and 25 donations for 100% of collection goal. It was a new experience for most, with 20 registered as first-time donors with CBC.

CBC now supplies blood products to Mercer Health and March 19 began a new blood drive partnership. The next Mercer Health CBC blood drive will be May 23 at Doctors' Urgent Care in Celina.

The blood drive came on the final day of winter. An always difficult season for blood collection was made more complicated by continued COVID-19 constraints. Type O blood was often in low supply and that trend continues.

"There is definitely a shortage," said Mercer Health Lab Director Kate Will, who coordinates the Mercer Health blood drives with CBC account manager Donna Kueterman. "It depends on your region, as far as supply, and COVID hasn't helped. It's always limiting the number of blood drives and donors.

"It's very day-to-day, even moment-to-moment. It always depends on sudden need and not being able to replace that."

"People in this area like to donate," said Janice Feltz, who donated Saturday with her husband Charles. Janice retired last year after 40 years as a phlebotomist in the Mercer Health lab. Both Janice and Charles recovered from bouts with COVID-19 and were motivated to support the hospital's new blood drive.

"Years ago, I donated, and I stopped," she said. "We started up again after COVID, we thought we should. I've tried to keep up with it."

"We both had it," said Charles. "There was a call for donations because of the shortage."

"I haven't donated in a while," said Janelle Sudhoff, a hospital staff member. She donated Saturday, "because of the demand for blood."

Roger Wolters heard about the new blood drive on the radio and made an appointment. "My mom had cancer," said Robert. "She needed a lot of blood. That's how I started."

"We all have family members and loved ones we've known that have needed transfusions because of surgery, trauma or oncology," said Kate Will. "We've all experienced that, and to be able to give and help our community."

On a wet, blustery Saturday morning, hospital staff and community members became CBC donors.

"We're hoping to get everybody involved and we do have a lot of community help," said Kate. "We're very thankful to our community for taking the time out of their day in a time of need."