PORTLAND, Ind. — Friends and family of Rachel Osterholt Theurer are hosting an American Red Cross blood drive in her memory on Tuesday, Aug. 9, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Jay Community Center in Portland.
Rachel was looking forward to working as an office manager in the family business, R&R RV Repair, while starting a family of her own with her husband Michael. But on Nov. 11, 2015, she tragically passed away after giving birth to her first child, a son named William Harold. Rachel suffered a complication called amniotic fluid embolism (AFE), also called anaphylactoid symptom of pregnancy, in which amniotic fluid, fetal cells, or other materials enter the mother’s blood stream and trigger a severe reaction. Although first defined in 1941, AFE remains unpredictable and is often fatal, affecting roughly one in 40,000 women during childbirth.
Rachel and her family knew the importance of giving blood and were regular donors long before Rachel received approximately 20 pints in the effort to save her life. To increase awareness about this rare condition, Rachel’s friends and family are holding a blood drive in her memory and encourage the entire community to attend in order to learn about AFE.
“Hosting this blood drive in her name is a wonderful way to honor Rachel and help new mothers who may need transfusions after giving birth,” said Jeri Garringer, account manager for the Red Cross.
This blood drive comes when the Red Cross has issued an emergency call for donors to give now to help address a significant blood shortage and ensure area patients receive the transfusions they need. Right now, blood products are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in. Every two seconds in the United States blood and platelets are needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. The Red Cross must collect approximately 14,000 blood and platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.
Blood Drive in Memory of Rachel (Osterholt) Theurer
Tuesday, Aug. 9
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Jay Community Center
115 East Water St., Portland, IN 47371
To schedule an appointment, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS
The Red Cross is thanking those who come in to donate blood or platelets between July 25 and Aug. 31 by emailing them a $5 Amazon.com gift card claim code. Those who come to donate between now and Sept. 5 can receive an exclusive Cedar Fair ticket offer that helps support the Red Cross, and enter to win one of two grand prize packages for four to Knott’s Berry Farm in California or Cedar Point in Ohio. Blood drive participants can go to redcrossblood.org/cedarfair to purchase discounted tickets for gate admission and enter to win one of the two grand prize packages. For each ticket purchased through the website, Cedar Fair will donate $2 to the Red Cross to support its humanitarian mission. Terms and conditions apply and are available at redcrossblood.org/cedarfair.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) 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 consent 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.
Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 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, cruzrojaamericana.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.