Giving blood, giving life in YS
- Published: June 6, 2013
On June 13, from 3–6:30 p.m., Yellow Springs’ first Blood Drive and Mini Wellness Fair will be held at the Bryan Center. Sponsored by the Ohio State University’s College of Medicine’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion, in partnership with Posterior Chain and the Greene County Combined Health District (GCCHD), the event will include chair massages, fitness demonstrations and advice and HIV/AIDS testing by the GCCHD, in addition to the opportunity to donate blood.
“This is our office’s way of giving back to a community that’s been supporting the university for years,” said villager Valerie Blackwell-Truitt, the director of the OSU Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “We have kids that go to OSU every year and people here who use OSU’s resources, so I wanted to have the university reach out to Yellow Springs.”
As director for the College of Medicine’s diversity office, Blackwell-Truitt is able to create and choose the kinds of events and community outreach she feels will help further the college’s goals of education, innovation and patient-enhanced care. With this in mind, a wellness fair that includes local health and wellness practitioners seemed like a good start, and so she reached out to massage therapists Keri Speck, Amy Spurr, Jaimie Wilke and Virgil Apostol; along with Shernaz Reporter and Kirsten Bean of the Greene County Combined Health District and her husband and son, Buck and Adam Truitt of the weightlifting gym Posterior Chain.
By doing demonstrations at the Blood Drive and Mini Wellness Fair, Buck and Adam Truitt hope to educate people about the benefits of proper weight training and give them advice about exercise in daily life, including offering those who work at computers suggestions for chair exercises and stretches.
For the GCCHD, the Blood Drive and Wellness Fair is an opportunity to encourage the local community to take advantage of the free, rapid and confidential HIV/AIDS testing the department provides.
“We want to make testing available and accessible,” said Kirsten Bean, an HIV health educator with the health department.
According to Bean, such testing is particularly important for young people between the ages of 15 and 24, since HIV is on the rise among that demographic.
“The only way to know your HIV status is to take the test,” said Bean. “The risk is in not knowing your status, and getting tested early means you can get into treatment earlier if necessary.” Additionally, Bean noted, the test is an oral swab, not a blood sample, for those who are afraid of needles.
The fair is also an opportunity for the GCCHD to inform Yellow Springers about the variety of services available to them through the health department, which includes the newly reopened dental clinic, immunization services and reproductive health and prenatal clinics.
Blackwell-Truitt chose to organize a blood drive because, as a member of Diversity Leadership Council of the Central Ohio American Red Cross, she’s aware of the great need for blood both nationally and locally.
“For every person who donates blood, three people will benefit from it,” she said.
Although drop-ins are more than welcome, people are also encouraged to register online at tinyurl.com/ysblooddrive or contact Blackwell-Truitt at 614-688-8489 to sign up for the drive ahead of time. This will allow the organizers to create a schedule and reduce the wait time.
The blood drive will be run by the Springfield office of Community Blood Center, so the donated blood could conceivably be used by Yellow Springers and members of the surrounding area.
“I’d like people to consider donating because you never know when you’ll need to receive the gift of life,” said Blackwell-Truitt. “This is another way that we can help take care of each other.”