Local blood supplies at critically low summer level

Ex-Pulaski basketball star, once cut badly, urges blood donations

Written by, Charles Davis, Green Bay Press-Gazette

Rod Ripley, left, and his fiancee Jennifer Born are shown in August 2011, two months after his accident. Ripley credits quick action and blood transfusions with saving his life. / Contributed photo

Summer is a time for vacations, trips to the pool and picnics. It’s also when blood supplies are at their lowest levels.

Rod Ripley is among those who know the importance of keeping up blood supplies in the summer months.

He lost half of the blood in his body last summer after suffering a severe cut to his arm while making repairs at his Madison bar. The former Pulaski High School basketball standout, who played at the University of Wisconsin in the 1980s, needed 10 pints of blood following surgery to help mend a severed artery and bicep muscle after a large mirror he was carrying broke and cut into his arm at Lucky’s Bar and Grille.

“I’m certainly appreciative of the (American) Red Cross and the people out there that take the one hour to donate blood. Those people saved my life,” he said.

Ripley received the blood he needed, but others — this year — may not be so lucky. Blood donations nationwide have dropped significantly and the blood supply has reached a critically low level, said Bobbi Snethen, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross regional blood services, which covers most of Wisconsin, eastern Iowa and Upper Michigan.

Anyone eligible to donate blood — about 38 percent of the population — is asked to give, she said. All blood types are needed, especially O-negative, O-positive, A-negative and B-negative, because those blood types can be given to more patients, Snethen said. Those eligible can donate a pint of blood once every eight weeks or up to six times a year.

Blood donations typically slow during summer and again during the winter holiday, in part because 20 percent of blood donations are gathered at high school and college blood drives, and most schools are closed during those times, Snethen said.

Donated blood is first made available to local residents in need before it is offered to patients nationwide. People diagnosed with cancer often require blood transfusions, as well as those with blood disorders or people, like Ripley, who are injured in serious accidents.

“It’s kind of a traumatic story with a really happy ending thanks to a Good Samaritan and the people who donate blood,” Snethen said.

After the injury, Ripley ran outside for help and a woman stopped to call 911 while a man later gathered towels from inside the bar to wrap Ripley’s wound to prevent bleeding.

Ripley, 47, of Waunakee, credits that move with saving his life, and the American Red Cross honored that man with an award in May.

Ripley, a father of three adult children, is still recovering from the injury, which occurred on June 25, 2011.

“I can’t hold a pen in my right hand,” he said, adding he is forced to write with his left hand and delegate some everyday tasks to friends and family. He’s hoping his recovery will be complete in about eight months, though he may always have some lingering effects from the injury.

Those who undergo a blood transfusion are not allowed to donate blood until a year after the procedure. Ripley, who says he donated blood off-and-on all his life and was raised in a family of committed blood donors, has begun speaking to others about the value of giving back. He is preparing to donate blood for the first time since the injury at a special blood drive next month in New York City.

“Simply encouraging other people to do something isn’t enough. You’ve got to get out there and do it yourself,” he said.

Getting Prepared with the Babysitter’s Training Course

By Lauren Lindstrom, Communications Intern, American Red Cross

Summer is upon us, and with it the busy schedules of area families. Many of us are out enjoying summertime freedoms, providing more opportunities for area kids to babysit the children of friends and neighbors.

The American Red Cross offers the Babysitter’s Training Course for youth ages 11-15, offering them the opportunity to learn crucial childcare skills and gain the confidence to provide a safe and fun environment while babysitting.

The full-day course covers the basics of caring for infants, toddlers and older children, as well as choosing fun and age-appropriate games and toys.

Green Bay native Ava Baenen recently took advantage of the opportunity to hone her babysitting skills. The 11-year-old received her Babysitter’s Training Certificate on May 19 with two friends.

“It was probably the first time I changed a diaper,” Ava said, adding she learned the proper techniques for feeding and caring for kids of all ages and how to deal with discipline issues. “If there are kids being stubborn, we learned how to solve those problems.”

Most importantly, the Babysitter’s Training Course teaches important safety skills, such as CPR and how to respond if someone is choking.

Ava says she feels more prepared to handle new situations when caring for children. She hopes everyone looking to babysit takes the course.

“It’s a great experience, you learn a lot, and it’s fun!”

The course costs $85, which includes a participant manual and CD-ROM. You may find upcoming courses near you by visiting www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Otero One of the 20 Women To Know

We are proud of Red Cross Staffer Michelle Otero honored in You Magazine 2012 Twenty Women to Know Issue!!!

Michelle Otero, bilingual donor recruitment supervisor, American Red Cross

“You’ve got to want it” – no words could be truer about life accomplishment. At 31, Otero has followed those wise words of her father through various challenges, including studying abroad in Spain, dabbling in politics on Capitol Hill and now in her role at the American Red Cross. “My mom and dad were never afraid to take chances, and jumped at new experiences,” she stated.

“Working in donor recruitment for the American Red Cross is like nothing I have ever done before,” she said. “It’s incredibly rewarding to know that through this line of work we really do help to save lives, and it’s so great to be able to provide opportunities for people to get involved.”

The death of her father a few years ago served as the impetus for her new motto in life: “Do your best every day and live with no regrets.”

American Red Cross Blood Donations Low in July as Temperatures Peak

 Just a few additional blood donors at remaining blood drives could boost supply

OSHKOSH, Wis. (July 24, 2012) – With extreme heat keeping some donors at home and severe storms forcing the cancellation of dozens of blood drives earlier in the month, the American Red Cross continues to have an emergency need for donors of all blood types. If at least two additional donors give at each blood drive through the end of July – above what the American Red Cross already expects to collect – the blood supply would be sufficient to meet patient needs.

Red Cross blood donations are at the lowest they have been in 15 years. Public support from the organization’s late-June appeal helped temporarily stop a decline in the blood supply. However, the mid-week Independence Day and extreme summer weather have contributed to a decrease in donations lately.

“We cannot thank enough the blood donors who have already rolled up a sleeve this summer,” said Greg Novinska, CEO of the Badger-Hawkeye Blood Services Region. “We appreciate the support from donors in Wisconsin, and we’re encouraging all eligible donors who didn’t have a chance to give yet to step up and help patients by making an appointment, as well as those who gave earlier in the spring and are now again eligible.”

Every two seconds, someone in the United   States needs blood. As the nation’s single largest supplier of blood and blood products, the Red Cross is dedicated to ensuring that every patient who needs a lifesaving transfusion is able to receive one. In fact, the Red Cross must collect more than 17,000 pints of blood each day to meet the needs of patients at more than 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.

All blood types are needed to ensure an adequate blood supply. Donors with type O negative, O positive, A negative or B negative blood are especially encouraged to give this summer.

Upcoming Blood Donation Opportunities

7/27/2012, 11:00 am- 4:00 pm, Regional Red Cross Chapter Office, 515 S Washburn   St, Oshkosh

How to Donate Blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.  Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

Help support the Red Cross – Rain Barrel Auction!

Come bid on the beautifully painted rain barrel that will be auctioned off at the Prairie Fest held at Gottfried Prairie & Arboretum.

Prairie Fest is held on:

Saturday, July 28, 2012 10am-3pm.

UW-Fond du Lac Campus
400 University Drive
(enter from Highway 23/Johnson St.)

Rain or Shine – FREE admission!!

A combination of interactive events, presentations, tours and entertainment, Prairie Fest is a one-of-kind event!

The rain barrel auction starts at Noon at the entrance of UW FdL. The American Red Cross will get a portion of the proceeds. Pam Chia donated her time and talents to paint the rain barrel for us.

Good Things Happen with Collaboration

Good things happen when agencies collaborative!  Habitat for Humanity, Aging and Disability Resource Center of Fond du Lac County and the American Red Cross all worked together to have disaster kits available free to low income homebound seniors or people with disabilities. Habitat for Humanity received grant from the National Habitat for Humanity and State Farm directed towards disaster preparedness. Each kit will include a hand crank weather radio/flashlight combination, first aid kit, emergency thermal blanket, and informational materials.

Pictured left-right are Sandy Tryon from ADRC, Paul Osterholm from Habitat for Humanity and Lisa Stanchfield from the American Red Cross.

Welcome Betsy Wandtke – American Red Cross Major Gifts Officer

As one of the newest members of the American Red Cross team, I am thrilled about the people I’m meeting and the challenge ahead of me.  Being a Major Gifts Officer for such an important organization is going to be extremely exciting and fun!

My background is varied (to put it mildly).  I’ve been blessed to have the support I needed to try whatever I wanted.  The thing I realized is that I’ve always wanted to help people.  I guess it’s in my genetics.

Oshkosh is where I was born and raised. When I went to UW-Oshkosh, I studied Karate for fun and taught women’s self-defense at night.  I left school a couple of years later to get married and start two businesses with my husband.  As if having two stepsons wasn’t enough to handle, I joined the First Responder Team, became the Captain and joined the Volunteer Fire Department.

I was also raising money for the “Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation”.  After about ten years of that, I joined the organization as a “Senior Development Officer” for a five-state area (the Midwest).  I met the greatest people and had such a good time raising money – sometimes on the back of a mule or standing in a trout stream with a fly rod in my hand.  That’s when I realized that raising money doesn’t have to happen in a board room.

I left there and followed my other passion – emergency care.  I worked as a trauma EMT in Wausau at “Aspirus Hospital” for several years.  I loved the Emergency Room and the camaraderie.  I really felt like I was making a difference.  During my time there, I was in a position to donate a kidney to my Mom.  I found out that the hospital didn’t have insurance to cover lost wages for organ donation…they do now.  It was great working with them to change the policy.

A few years later I was offered a position as the Director of Operations for “Weatherby Foundation International”.  I jumped at the opportunity. We gave grants to get kids in the outdoors.  I did a total reorganization of the organization and enhanced their yearly, black-tie gala so it was making money.  I’m happy to say that WFI was operating smoothly when I left.

I had a chance to go to Cheyenne to be the Executive Director of “Wyoming Wildlife – The Foundation” while they went through a big transition. The consolidation took about three months.  That’s when I decided that my priorities had changed.  I missed Wisconsin, my family and the Midwest way of life.  I came home

I am still involved in outdoor sports, like hunting and fishing.  I am a First Responder for the Town of Algoma now.  I love where I am and where my life is headed!

I am humbled by the ARC volunteers and employees that give so much.  I am honored to be on the team.   My health and emergency services involvement, along with my fundraising experience will play an important part in what I do here. Everything I’ve done in my past has brought me here.

And “at this moment in time, life doesn’t get any better”!