COLUMBUS — The Ohio House of Representative on Wednesday, Sept. 20 unanimously approved proposed legislation to designate January as “Blood Donor Awareness Month” in Ohio. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Stephen Huffman of Miami County, chairman of the House Health Committee, emergency room physician, and life-long blood donor.
“Blood donations are essential for life-saving medical procedures,” Rep. Huffman said. “It is easy to take the availability of blood products for granted, but the reality is that countless lives depend on blood donations.
”As a regular blood donor, I was proud to sponsor this legislation and it is my hope that it will increase awareness about the importance of giving blood, and encourage more donations across the state.”
Rep. Huffman has made 55 lifetime donations with Community Blood Center, the equivalent of nearly seven gallons of blood. He is a “Universal Donor” because his O negative blood type can go to any patient in need.
CBC Donor Relations Director Andrew Keelor, Ohio Association of Blood Banks board member Dr. Elizabeth Biller, and Dayton attorney and blood donor Judith LaMusga all testified before the House Health Committee as proponents of the bill during its Sept. 13 hearing.
“There is no medical substitute for human blood when a patient is in need,” said Keelor. “This ongoing need and the very perishable nature of blood demand a continuous, deliberate and dedicated effort to recruit new volunteer blood donors. Reminding the public of this awesome responsibility and vital need would be the greatest benefit of Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month.”
Keeler said the young now represent the next generation of donors. More than half of current donors are “Baby Boomers,” loyal donors who are reaching an age when they donate less frequently, can no longer donate, or may need blood transfusions.
“I know I can save a life,” said LaMusga, who at age 74 has made 469 lifetime blood donations. “I intend to continue donating as long as I possibly can. Volunteers need to be on the rise and we need to be out there donating.”
The bill now moves to the Senate for committee hearing.