By Aleesia Benkey, American Red Cross intern
American Red Cross of Orange County Board Member Michael Gelormino began giving blood in 1986. He quickly found a passion for giving back and donated for three years until FDA regulations changed.
Michael spent time in the United Kingdom between 1977 and 1981, which deferred him from giving blood.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed a two-decade-long rule in June of 2020 that previously deferred donors from donating blood for time spent in Europe due to concerns about transmitting a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) through blood transfusions.
"As a board member and an empathetic person, I always felt the most effective way to give back to the community is through blood donation,” said Michael. “It can make a significant impact for a person and for the greater good.”
The five-year board member yearned to give back in a meaningful way and was elated at the change in regulations. His first blood donation in over twenty years took place at the 100th Annual Antis Roofing Blood Drive in Santa Ana, where he made a Power Red donation.
Whole blood donations contain red blood cells, platelets, plasma and white blood cells. Red blood cells are the most frequently used blood component and are needed by almost every type of patient requiring transfusion. If you meet certain criteria, Power Red allows you to safely donate two units of red cells during one appointment as an automated donation process.
Michael is motivated by stories of how blood donors save lives and is thrilled to contribute. He plans to donate regularly and continue to give back.
Join Michael and make an appointment to donate blood at RedCrossBlood.org.