The Red Cross holds around 500 blood drives every day. One person’s donation could potentially save up to three lives and every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood.
About every 56 days, the Red Cross makes a trip to Sidney for a blood drive. They are here in January, March, June, August and October. It used to be difficult to find donors in Sidney, but that’s no longer the case.
“Sidney is one of our larger draws we do and it has grown immensely,” said Red Cross supervisor Leann Hedstrom. “It used to be a draw that struggled to get 50 donors and now our projections are up in the 70s and 80s.”
Hedstrom, who has been coming to Sidney for draws for 14 years, said that in January they got 96 units of blood and in March they had 82. Those numbers reflect 101 and 103 people donating blood, respectively.
“There are criteria they have to pass. Their hemoglobin has to be high enough, their blood pressure has to be in range, their pulse has to be in range and there’s health history questions they have to answer,” Hedstrom said.
All of those factors determine whether or not a person can donate blood. All of the phlebotomists drawing blood at the drive are Red Cross employees. Hedstrom said the people handling food and checking people in were volunteers. Those ladies are responsible for growing this draw to its current level.
Halvorson and Nancy Hedegaard are the coordinators for the Sidney blood drives and have been for quite some time.
“We advertise with the Sidney Herald, the Roundup and on two radio stations in the area,” Hedegaard said.
Hedegaard and Halvorson said they also hang posters at their church to promote the events, along with the Red Cross sending out post cards.
Sidney typically gets a lot of appointments for donating blood whereas a lot of other places tend to get more walk-ins.
“We have 83 appointments scheduled for today, but we have room for 100,” Hedegaard said. There are walk-in spots available too.
Another blood drive is scheduled in Sidney for Tuesday, Aug. 20. To schedule an appointment call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
The Chronic Disease Coalition is a part of the Communities in Action groups and has been around for a little over a year.
The goals of the coalition is to “increase community awareness of chronic disease prevention, create strong linkage between community services and providers and to ensure, help and identify resources for those already with chronic diseases.”
Every three years the health department puts together a strategic plan, in which they identify the biggest issues the community feels are important.
According to the Richland County Quality of Life Strategic Plan, “Chronic disease was identified as a focus area based on the feedback from the Strategic Planning Conference in 2018. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic diseases are identified as broadly conditions that last one year or more and require ongoing medical attention limit activities of daily living, or both.”
Amanda VandeBossche, head of the Chronic Disease Coalition said the group focuses on prevention, self-management and educational support.
“The Chronic Disease Coalition kind of branched off the Cancer Coalition,” VandeBossche said.
Most chronic diseases are caused by things such as tobacco use, exposure to second hand smoke, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity and excessive alcohol use.
“We are wanting to focus on asthma, heart failure and heart disease and diabetes,” VandeBossche said.
While there were classes that already existed, the coalition has started new classes such as diabetes support group.
Some of the strategies that the coalition has are things such as providing opportunities for self-management, education and support by offering two evidence-based trainings per quarter by Dec. 31, 2020. Another strategy they are working on is having a referral system in place by the end of this year.
According to the strategic plan put together this year, chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer contribute to the leading causes of death within Richland County.
The coalition has the support of health educators, tobacco specialists, diabetes educators, commission on aging and the extension office.
“Addressing chronic disease impacts the health of the community by affecting the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. Rates of chronic disease decrease with positive policy, system, and environmental changes.”
The Cancer Coalition, Chronic Disease Coalition and diabetes support group are all addressing the issue of chronic diseases in the area.
The Communities in Action groups impact the indicators of chronic disease by implementing strategies that focus on a healthier lifestyle.