Ramstein blood donation expands; saves lives

Kayle Abad, Armed Services Blood Program phlebotomist, sterilizes a donor’s arm at Ramstein Air Base, Aug. 30. All blood donated to the ASBP stays within the military.

The Armed Services Blood Program conducted a blood drive Aug. 29-30, at Ramstein Air Base.

A team from Landstuhl Regional Medical Center traveled to RAB to collect units of blood from service members, dependents, and DOD civilians from Team Ramstein.

The Landstuhl ASBP at LRMC is the sole provider of blood to armed forces in Europe and Africa. This donation marks the first to open donation opportunities to more members who were previously ineligible to donate blood.

“This is actually the first blood drive ever at Ramstein with no Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, otherwise known as Mad Cow disease, restrictions,” said Stacy Sanning, Blood Donor Recruiter, Armed Services Blood Program public affairs officer. “This is the first time that people who have lived in England, and other parts of Europe, are finally eligible to donate blood since 1999.”

Kayle Abad, Armed Services Blood Program phlebotomist, draws blood samples into test tubes at Ramstein Air Base, Aug. 30. Blood donated to the ASBP maintains the military’s blood supply.Photos by Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Alder

The restriction on blood donation was lifted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration May 24. Now, the ASBP welcomes all donors, previously ineligible due to Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, to donate.

“The change definitely opens up a larger pool of blood donors,” said Sanning. “Our donor pool opened in such a big way that we can start seeing local national employees, family members, and people born here — all of which are now able to donate.”

The event attracted several donors, including Samuel Shearman from the 86th Civil Engineer Squadron.

“It makes me happy to donate,” said Shearman. “I am all about helping other people when I can, and this is a way for me to give back to others.”

The blood collected during this drive is used for surgeries and transfusions to treat service members around the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of responsibility.

“Quite a bit of the blood goes to AFRICOM, but a large portion goes to LRMC, other military medical areas, and areas around Europe,” said Sanning. “It goes everywhere and supports everyone, including service members, families, retirees, NATO members. Additionally, it can now support Ukrainian casualties sent to LRMC.”

To donate, register online at https://www.militarydonor.com for a donation window, check in, complete a health screening, and then donate.

For more information about blood donations, contact the Landstuhl ASBP at 06371-9464-5885.