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Health

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Read about a local mom whose life was saved shortly after giving birth thanks to blood donors.

For most people, celebrating the birth of their first child is a truly life-changing event.

But for Kendra Stanley, the birth of her daughter Addison was even more momentous, because of the complications she survived thanks to blood donors.

In September of 2019, Kendra and her husband were admitted to St. Elizabeth’s in Edgewood to deliver their first child. Her labor was long and exhausting—“I had been in labor for over 24 hours and had pushed for almost 3 hours when she finally was born,” she recalls.

Kendra and her husband were thrilled to meet their newborn daughter, but their moments meeting Addison were short-lived. Kendra’s drawn-out labor ended with a serious medical emergency when her placenta struggled to detach from the uterine wall.

“Very quickly after her birth, things went downhill,” she says.  “The placenta was still attached to my uterus and was not easily detaching. When it finally detached, I started hemorrhaging. Pieces of the placenta were still stuck in my body, and had to quickly be taken out along with multiple blood clots. This resulted in a major loss of blood.”

Postpartum hemorrhaging affects between 1 to 5 percent of women, and the availability of blood products is critical when it comes to treatment. The excessive blood loss can cause a severe drop in the mother’s blood pressure and may lead to shock and death if not caught and treated quickly.

Kendra’s doctors had to work fast to remove the placental remains, stem the rapid bleeding, and ultimately save her life. Blood donors are one of the only reasons Kendra was able to survive and bond with her daughter.

“I received a lifesaving double blood transfusion later that night,” Kendra says. “I felt like an entirely new person after the transfusion and I am so grateful that it is something I was able to receive when I desperately needed it. I was able to go home shortly after that and enjoy my baby girl all thanks to blood donations!” 

Here is a list of upcoming Hoxworth Blood Drives: 

November

11/24/20 – Rookwood Commons Hoxworth Blood Drive

11/25/20 – Oakley Community Blood Drive

December

12/2/20 – Signature Air (Lunken)

12/10/20 –  Main Library drive, downtown

12/21/20 –  Downtown Mobile

12/22/20 – Deer Park Library                             

12/23/20 – Mariemont Theater        

12/31/20 – Starbucks on 4th Street, downtown

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Read on to learn about a locally-based blog that’s now helping thousands of people with Keto-friendly meals.

A blog recently launched by a local woman is now helping thousands of people enjoy Keto-friendly meals one recipe at a time. 

“Yep, It’s Keto is a blog I started in January 2020 to provide meal ideas and guidance to those that enjoy a Keto(low-carb eating) lifestyle,” says Robin Feltner, Creator and Writer of Yep, It’s Keto. 

Robin Feltner

What is Keto? “Our bodies run off of two fuel sources…either carbohydrates or fat. If you opt for carbohydrates, you’ll provide fuel from the foods you are eating, therefore making it hard to burn the fat from your body. When you eat a low-carb diet (25 carbs a day or less), you become ‘Fat-adapted.’ This means that your body is fueled from the fat on your body,” Feltner says. “Your body will use the fat from your body to provide energy. This means you’ll rapidly burn excess fat from your body. This happens relatively quickly — you can become fat-adapted within a week — and this is why we see people lose weight fast on Keto. You are tapping directly into your fat stores for energy and that results in quick weight loss.”

There are many health benefits associated with a Keto diet. “It reduces the inflammation in your body, it helps you to create the ideal body weight for your body, it lowers blood pressure, it evaporates brain fog and provides mental acuity, it provides tons of energy and best of all, it can reverse Type II Diabetes,” she says.

The blog is available on FacebookInstagramTwitter and the blog’s website. The blog has been around since January 2020 and has more than 10k followers. “I’ve had a rapid growth of readers in that time, acquiring about 1000 new readers per month, letting me know I’m right on track with what the public is seeking,” Feltner says. 

Feltner’s 30lb weight loss, thanks to her keto diet

The inspiration behind starting the blog came from health struggles that Feltner was going through. “I started eating a Ketodiet after I had been diagnosed with a severely herniated disc in my back, had high blood pressure and also had excess weight to lose. I learned that the Keto diet was a very low-inflammatory diet. Herniated discs are essentially that… inflamed discs and as I was in excruciating pain, I was willing to try anything to get well,” she says. “I started my keto journey in April 2018, staying under 25 carbs per day and had such amazing success with Keto within six months. I lost 30 pounds, completely healed my herniated disc, normalized my BP and kicked those meds to the curb and became overall ultra-healthy. I started the blog in 2020 because I knew I had to tell others about this incredible life hack. When you discover something incredible, you want to share it with the world. This has resulted in me being in the best shape, mentally and physically, that I’ve ever experienced.”

The name of the business came from a desire to help the Ketocommunity. “We low-carb eating folks are always seeking new things to eat. We are always curious if it’s Keto,” Feltner says. “I would research food and say to myself, ‘Yep, it’s Keto.” The name stuck from there.”

 

There is a variety of content offered through, Yep, It’s Keto. “Coming from a background in restaurant marketing for the past decade before joining the Northern Kentucky Health Department in July, I have been very passionate about cooking, food and presentation. I knew my restaurant marketing, photography and menu development background would help me communicate with the reader,” she says. “Initially, my blog was regarding all things Keto, including Keto education, workouts, etc. However, it’s transitioned now to a focus on delicious Keto meals that the whole family will eat.”

The blog provides a variety of low-carb recipes and they include:

▪ Meats: Steak, Chicken, Pork, etc.
▪ Vegetables: Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli and Cauliflower
▪ There are also “Sweets that are sweetened with Keto-friendly sweetners, such as erythrotol or Monk Fruit,”Fretner says. 

Feltner’s blog is unique because she brings her decade-worth of experience. “I have been a Food and Beverage Marketer for the past decade and I also grew up in a family that owned a catering business, so I really know food and presentation extensively. This has helped me create restaurant-quality meals that not only taste delicious, but it photographs well and is very marketable,” she says. “My blog is unique in that I have had many years of presenting food and drinks to guests and that has translated well into fantastic engagement with the readers on my blog.”

Yep, It’s Keto is important for the community because it provides awareness of Keto. “Helping readers discover Keto is good for all of us, as this leads to an increase in health overall and wellness for our community,” Feltner says. “The lack of disease and illness and the increase in health and wellness monumentally impacts your community and steers your tax dollars to programs that promote health, not just care for the ill.”

If you want to keep up with what Yep, It’s Keto is doing, follow the blog on FacebookInstagramTwitter and the blog’s website

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Dr. Art Pancioli recently donated his 100th unit of blood and now he's on a mission to get others to join him!

As Chairman of the department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Dr. Arthur Pancioli, M.D. is keenly aware of just how crucial it is to have blood products on the shelf and readily available to help local patients.  That’s why he has been a staunch supporter of blood donation for the past twenty years.

His commitment is apparent and even measureable—in fact, he donated his 100th unit of blood in May of 2017, and has donated over 12 gallons. Dr. Pancioli recently spoke with Hoxworth Blood Center in the hopes of alerting the community to the need for blood and encouraging his peers in the medical profession to roll up a sleeve.

“In our line of work, we can’t do without blood,” Dr. Pancioli said during his 100th donation. “This is a commodity that we can’t manufacture, and it HAS to be available.  Therefore, it is incumbent on all of us to make the effort and make it available.”

Dr. Pancioli was a casual donor as a young man, donating a few units during medical school. After a few years working in emergency medicine, however, he made a commitment to become a regular blood donor.

“I donated here and there when I was younger, but I realized after a few years that I am a healthy guy, and there was no reason for me NOT to donate,” he recalled.  “How could I justify not going once every 8 or 9 weeks?”

Since then, Dr. Pancioli has strived to donate whenever he is eligible. A 12-gallon donor, he wears his Hoxworth gallon pin on his lapel as a way of identifying his commitment to donating.

He’s even turned donating into a family affair. “I used to bring my kids with me to watch. My two sons have started donating now,” he said.  “They give when they can, because they grew up watching me donate, and they think, ‘This is just what I should do.’”

But while Dr. Pancioli has already instilled the value of blood donation in his children, he’s trying to encourage other members of the medical profession to follow his lead and give when they can.

“We use the product, we see the need and the good it does for our patients,” he said. “And we can’t manufacture it, so it’s on us. Donating is so easy, it doesn’t hurt, and doesn’t take long. We HAVE to do it!”

“And truly, you never know when it’s going to be you or your family that needs it,” he added.  “We in the medical profession need to take that seriously.”

Thank you, Dr. Pancioli, for your commitment to saving lives in our community—and here’s to another 100 donations in your future!

Here is a list of upcoming Hoxworth Blood Drives: 

November

11/21/20 – Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Hoxworth Blood Drive

11/24/20 – Rookwood Commons Hoxworth Blood Drive

11/25/20 – Oakley Community Blood Drive

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A group of local women recently created a socially-distanced way to get out and enjoy nature, learning and togetherness.

Women sharing the outdoors. That’s what this new local group of women does, so that’s what they call it. 

“Women Sharing The Outdoors’ (WSO) goal is to provide an atmosphere where women feel more comfortable and confident gaining new skills associated with outdoor recreation and education activities in a hands-on and non-competitive learning environment. The instructors, mostly women, are patient and encouraging,” says WSO Development Committee Member, Andrea Beaver. “Participants of all ages, abilities and backgrounds share in the success of each group member. Participants will also gain insight into the management and conservation of the natural, historical and cultural resources of our region and country as part of each event. This is in-line with the core mission of IWLA.org’s national mission.”

WSO was established in Jul 2020 as part of the Mount Healthy Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America. A majority of the programs will be located at the Mount Healthy IWLA Facility in Colerain Township at: 3504 Bevis Lane, Cincinnati, Ohio. “We have 11 acres with a pond and trails, open fields and woods, a large hall and amenities,” Beaver says.

Although just recently launched, the Mount Healthy IWLA Chapter has provided several programs for participants. “We have seen a tremendous rise in interest in outdoor skills and experiences for women in recent years,” she says. “WSO was created to help provide programming for the tri-state region.” 

The committee contains four females and one male. “All of us have diverse backgrounds with a passion for the outdoors and a desire to share that with others,” Beaver says. “Our main focus is to get women engaged in the outdoors, but we will also be extending some programs to include children and families.”

During the program, there will be “opportunities for an educational and engaging experience in the form of classes, clinics, workshops and group trips,” she says. Each of the different programs will have a different focus. “At our first event on September 26, 2020, we offered a ‘mini-sampler’ of outdoor skills, which included four rotating stations, where women could try their hand at fishing, archery, indoor range target shooting and outdoor shotgun shooting at movable targets (trap shooting),” Beaver says. “We had 23 participants and many more on a wait list. We received tremendous compliments by the participants. Everyone had fun, learned new skills and made new friends.”

She loves seeing women come out of their shell. “Our favorite measure of success is seeing some of the ladies, who were timid, unsure if they should even try learning a new skill, suddenly blossom with empowerment and a desire to learn more,” Beaver says. “We are filled with joy to see them go home fired up to share what they’ve learned and encourage friends and family to try.”

Through Women Sharing The Outdoors, she wants to see women be better versions of themselves. “We hope to educate and empower women as they take on new challenges and encourage them to share what they’ve learned with their family and friends,” Beaver says. “We also hope for them to find the courage to engage in more outdoor activities with their family and friends for good mental and physical health as well as appreciation of what the outdoors has to offer.”

The program wants to have a healthy environment for women todevelop a love for the outdoors. “We envision a series of programs that provide women a safe and friendly environment to learn about the outdoors, master new skills, experience comradery in sharing these experiences and go home with a sense of empowerment and desire to engage more,” she says. 

 Their first events involved learning about fishing and shooting skills, but they will offer a wide range of different programs in the future, including: camping, nightscapes and star identification, pioneer skills, horseback riding, self-defense, boating techniques and adventures, bird watching, outdoor photography, hiking, wildlife identification, mountain biking, caving and so much more. “There will be no limit to what we may offer and with feedback from our surveys and participants, we will grow a spectacular program filled with empowerment for the women in our community,” Beaver says.

She adds that WSO is unique because “our foundation is based on a national organization’s mission to get everyone outdoors…men, women, children and families together,” she says. “It creates community and connectivity through a mutual focus.”

Beaver says the program is important for women because it provides a gentle, educational approach to introducing women to the outdoors. “In many families, the male members are the ones with some experience and knowledge of the outdoors and when they try to teach skills to their female partners or family members, they tend to dominate the experience vs. letting the woman become empowered by the lesson. In our programs, we provide a safe environment for learning in a gentle format,” she explains. “Also, women tend to be the family coordinators and decide where the kids are engaged…in sports, activities, etc. if these women are comfortable with outdoor activities, they are more inclined to get their kids exposed to these same opportunities, allowing for a much more enriched lifestyle.”

If you want to keep up with what’s going on with Women Sharing The Outdoors, follow them on Facebook or contact Linda Bittner, the administrator, at wildartsafaris@gmail.com.

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Read about a local woman who made donating blood a life-long commitment.

For Connie Nicolas, donating platelets isn’t just an occasional contribution — it’s a commitment.

“I’ve been donating blood and platelets for over thirty years now,” she said. “I always try to make time to donate at Hoxworth.”

Platelet donation is an important responsibility for Connie, a lifelong Cincinnatian who has been donating for well over half of her life. She first donated blood at Hoxworth when she was 17-years-old, and donated platelets for the first time when she was about 20.

“Apheresis was in its infancy when I started donating,” she said. “They used to have family members call and ask people to donate for their loved ones, and I remember being called by a woman whose son had thrombocytopenia (a decrease of platelets in the blood). I went in to donate, and I have been donating pretty regularly ever since.”

While a lot has changed in the past few decades — Hoxworth recruiters, for instance, will call donors instead of family members — Connie’s dedication to platelet donation has not wavered.

“I think donating blood or platelets is a simple way to be a good person,” said Connie, who donates at the Blue Ash neighborhood center. “You can literally save a life with just an hour or two of your time. It is a very community-minded act, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Here is a list of upcoming Hoxworth Blood Center Blood Drives: 

Here is a list of upcoming Hoxworth Blood Drives: 

November

11/21/20 – Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Hoxworth Blood Drive

11/24/20 – Rookwood Commons Hoxworth Blood Drive

11/25/20 – Oakley Community Blood Drive

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Learn about a new wellness studio in Loveland that wants to help you climb to new heights of fitness and fun.

At a time when people are encouraged to keep their distance, a local wellness studio is helping people reach new heights of fun and fitness in their own unique way.

“Mosaic Climbing is Ohio’s largest premier rock climbing and fitness facility, comprising of over 20,000 square feet of climbing terrain, 55-foot walls, youth climbing, full-service fitness space, yoga studio and group fitness area,” say Nicole Brown and Chris Shotwell, co-founders of Mosaic Climbing. “We also offer communal and co-working spaces for events, parties and meetings.”

The inspiration behind starting Mosaic Climbing was a desire to see a wide range of people be introduced to the fun of rock climbing. “It’s really easy for people to write the sport off as too hard, too scary or too whatever. We’re here to provide a place where you can let yourself experience a real challenge that works wherever you are in your journey,” say Brown and Shotwell. “We’re also passionate about bringing people together in the community and climbing is a great medium to accomplishing that.” 

The name of the business came from a love of agriculture between Brown and her husband. “We also wanted a name that gave nod to the uniting force of climbing. A mosaic is a whole made up of a variety of parts,” she says. “From our community to the routes we put up on the wall to our staff to the space that contain us, everything is individual until it assembles into a pattern or works together as a unit in a way that creates something special. We strive to incite that affinity towards collaboration.”

There are a variety off different services offered through Mosaic Climbing and they include: indoor rock climbing, rentable rock climbing equipment, multiple classes and workshops at theirfacility, hosts workshops around the community, offer fitness products, including weight and cardio equipment, nutrition coaching and consulting, set up and host parties, events, groups, team buildings and classes tailored to an individual case and offers office space for meeting, co-working  and remote work.”

Mosaic means so much to Brown and Shotwell. “Mosaic is an opportunity to share joy with other people. Climbing is a mirror for life; we struggle, fail, learn and eventually overcome,” they say. “Being there for people during the process and the payoff is awesome!”

The business defines success by seeing their clients’ lives be impacted. “Somewhat of an inside joke within our industry, we certainly don’t operate climbing gyms for the money! The time, resource and capital investment is enormous and the monetary payoff is meager and laborious,” Brown and Shotwell say. “The cheesy truth is that we absolutely do it for the people it impacts. We have had customers completely turn their lives around after finding climbing, citing the supportive community aspect as the primary catalyst during the change.”

The future of Mosaic Climbing depends on their community. “The people who engage with Mosaic are ultimately the people who shape it. We work to create the space for that input and that growth,” they say. “Where things go after there is a strong and inclusive community doesn’t have to be only up to us.”

The mission of Mosaic Climbing is to create a positive environment for their clients. “Our mission is to design climbs, develop a space and foster a community that organically inspires people to collaborate on and share in the climbing experience together,” Brown and Shotwell say.

Mosaic Climbing has a unique ability “to listen, adapt and overcome the traditional challenges that climbing communities face because we’ve participated in so many through the years. It isn’t easy trying to nudge things out of the existing track, but we know where we’re trying to go,” they say. “Climbing really doesn’t have to be a sport that feels like it’s only for elite climbers; anyone can do this, you don’t have to be focused only on getting better and we’re here to show you that how it can be fun no matter what reason you have for doing it.”

The business is located at 9501 Union Cemetery Road, just off the intersection of Fields Ertel Road and Montgomery Road. To keep up with what’s going on with Mosaic Climbing, follow them on Facebook and Instagram. You can also reach them through phone at: 513-718-4083 and email at: info@mosaicclimbing.com.

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Transfusions played a critical role in young girl's fight against cancer. Click here to read more about how you can save lives through blood donations.

Melissa Kelly has been a blood donor for years, giving when she could fit it into her busy schedule–“whenever it was convenient,” she says.

But as she sat next to her young daughter Maeryn in the hospital in 2016, waiting for precious blood transfusions that would help Maeryn in her fight against pre-B cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, she vowed to donate whenever she was able and do her part to end blood shortages.

Maeryn was only nine years old when she began to experience pain in her hips, legs and knees. An otherwise healthy girl with a love of drawing, cooking, and crafting, she was diagnosed with “growing pains,” and started physical therapy soon thereafter. But as months went by, Maeryn’s pain increased with no sign of healing.

Maeryn was only nine years old when she began to experience pain in her hips, legs and knees. An otherwise healthy girl with a love of drawing, cooking, and crafting, her mother took her to the doctor where she was diagnosed with “growing pains,” and started physical therapy soon thereafter. But as months went by, Maeryn’s pain increased with no sign of healing.

From there, the news got much worse. “We went back to the doctor where it was confirmed that she had leukemia,” Melissa recalls.

Maeryn went straight to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, where they would work to identify the specific type of leukemia and develop a treatment plan.

It was during this time that blood and platelet transfusions played a critical role in Maeryn’s care. In order to diagnose the specific type of cancer, she would first need a transfusion to replenish her red and white blood cell counts, which had fallen dangerously low.

And it was during this time that Melissa realized the true impact that blood donors have on local patients.

“Due to a shortage of blood at that time, we could not obtain blood for the transfusion for five hours,” Melissa remembers. “During that time, we were left to wait and wonder. And during that time, I vowed that I would donate anytime I was asked or able.”

“I didn’t realize the true impact of donating until I was sitting in the hospital, trying to determine what was going to be our course of treatment for the next 2 and a half years,” she adds. “Now I will go the extra mile. I can appreciate that other families are in that place and treatment can’t begin until a proper diagnosis is made.”

Fortunately, Maeryn received her needed transfusions–and after spending her 10th birthday in the hospital, she is doing well today. She will be in treatment for another year, but she is already back to doing the things she loves: Playing with her friends, going to school, riding her bike, and fixing her hair. She was also named an “Honored Hero” for the Tri-State Southern Ohio Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).

Maeryn is well on her way to recovery, but her diagnosis and treatment has left a lasting impression on Melissa.

“There is no love like that for your child,” she says, “And, at that moment, all I wanted to do was make it better; to take away the pain and set her on the right path toward health and happiness, but my hands were tied. That is, until the gift of blood donation helped chart the course for treatment.”

Melissa has become an even more fervent advocate for blood donation in the wake of Maeryn’s illness. Her employer, Veritiv, has held blood drives in Maeryn’s honor, and “in an effort to show my kids that blood donation is easy-breezy, I’ve taken them with me and they’ve seen me donate. They’ve asked questions and talked to the staff at Hoxworth firsthand!” she says.

She is also encouraging others to join her in rolling up a sleeve and making blood shortages a thing of the past.

“For anyone else who is unsure about donating, I would show them my daughter’s face,” she says. “I would show them the picture of her holding the poster for the drive in her honor. I would tell them how it felt to wait, while we were at the mercy of others to get blood products to her.”

Melissa will never forget how it felt to wait for those lifesaving blood products. But she will also never forget the waves of appreciation towards to the donors who helped her daughter.

“It’s hard to find words to express that sort of gratitude.”

November

11/3/20 – West Chester Church of the Nazarene Blood Drive

11/21/20 – Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Hoxworth Blood Drive

11/24/20 – Rookwood Commons Hoxworth Blood Drive

11/25/20 – Oakley Community Blood Drive

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Read on to learn about a popular plant shop expanding soon to the Cincinnati area.

Have a green thumb? Struggle to keep a succulents alive? No matter your plant prowess, Forage has a new store coming to town just for you.

“Forage is an interior houseplant shop with locations in Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky, Denver, Colorado and soon to be Cincinnati, Ohio,” says Jamie Fairman, Owner and Founder of Forage. “Forage is typically used to gather and find. And that is exactly what you can do here.”

It started in Louisville, but has expanded to multiple locations and is soon coming to the Cincinnati area. Currently, there are 14 people working for Forage and the number is growing.

The business started with a passion for plants. “Forage started from a personal love of houseplants and eventually turned into a little brick and mortar, which turned into four,” Fairman says. The name of the business came from “the creation of wanting something that tied the earth and people together,” she explains. 

There are a variety of different services offered through Forage. “We offer a wide offering of houseplants for every level of caretaker, as well as a vast selection of unique ceramics from small makers all around the world,” she says. “We also provide a handful of services to our customers, including potting services (which are complimentary with purchase), plant doctoring service- we will assess, prune, repot and give detailed prescriptions of the diagnosis and after-care of plants and we also offer plant staking services as well.”

There are different ways that Forage define success. One is “through growing an amazing staff of individuals,” Fairmansays “My dream with this business is to grow people just like you would grow plants. I also measure it by the amount of good that we can contribute to our communities. Being involved in the community around us and using our outreach is truly important to us!”

The mission of the business is “to create a space where plants and the people that take care of them can thrive,” she says. 

Forage is unique because of their values. There are four different ones:

• Education: “We have become plant experts so that we can educate and inform our customers,” Fairman says. “We’re always researching, learning and sharing! We want to instill plant confidence in every plant parent.”
• Community: “Forage is welcome to all. There is always room on our in-store couches and in our online communities for plant lovers of all kinds,” she says. “We strive to provide opportunities for our customers to interact with and with each other.”
• Environment: Their goal is “creating a peaceful, beautiful environment where plants flourish and people can enjoy them is incredibly important to us,” Fairman says. 
• Sustainability: “Forage is committed to doing this as sustainably as possible- recycling always, reducing when we can and reusing at every opportunity,” she says.

Community is also important to Forage. “We truly believe in not only being an inclusive environment, but also playing active roles for the betterment of our communities. But we also believe that our communities are just as important to us,” Fairman says. “We have made activism and charity at the forefront of our business by participating in social justice reform, donating to our communities and encouraging others in our communities to partake in charities through our charity weekends.”

Fairman’s favorite part of the job is the people. “The people that work here are amazing and our customers are truly just incredible humans. I feel lucky,” she says.

To learn more about Forage, follow them on Instagram or join their mailing list on their website.

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Read an inspiring story about how blood donations helped to save the life of a local baby in need.

At nearly 1 year old, “she loves to wave, smile and dance to nursery rhymes, and she is learning to blow kisses,” according to her mother, Lindsay Schulte. “No one is funnier to her than her older brothers, and she squeals and giggles at them all the time. She loves to be in the ‘action’ and gets mad if she feels like she isn’t included in the room!” 

Seeing Brynn today—full of life, with wide, bright eyes and a sunny smile—you would have never known how gravely ill she was shortly after her birth in July of 2019. 

With the care of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and the help of blood donors, Brynn is here to celebrate her first birthday.

Lindsay and Mike Schulte, who live in the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood of Cincinnati, were thrilled to welcome a girl to their family of boys. “We have two boys—Luke, who will be 5 in September of 2020, and Nate, turning 3 in August,” says Lindsay. “We LOVE to play outside, go to the zoo, and walk to the local coffee shop. The boys were ELATED to have a baby sister, and we were so excited to have PINK sprinkled throughout our house!” 

Baby Brynn was born healthy on July 24th, 2019 via scheduled induction at Good Samaritan Hospital. However, the excitement of the new addition to the Schulte family was short-lived.

“Unfortunately, Brynn had to be rushed to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital a day after she was born,” Lindsay recalls. “Katie, her nurse in the labor and delivery unit, SAVED her life.  They woke me up in the middle of the night because Brynn was grey and had labored breathing.  It was a whirlwind.  When we arrived at Children’s, more than a dozen health care workers surrounded Brynn, working to stabilize her.”

Through many tests and examinations—and many theories for the cause of Brynn’s condition—Brynn was discovered to have an internal bleed, which took everyone, including the doctors, by surprise. After ruling out the bleed was not the result of a tumor (as it looked like a mass on her liver), doctors identified the mass as a hematoma. The root cause of this remained unclear, but Brynn was cleared to go home with her parents after two weeks at Cincinnati Children’s. 

But again, the relief proved to be fleeting. After just two weeks of being home, Brynn experienced another life-threatening setback.

“I had to rush Brynn to the ER where she was diagnosed with pressure and bleeding in her brain,” Lindsay recalls. “The amazing ER team saved her life once again, and she was in surgery within an hour of arriving. Her neurosurgeon performed a lifesaving procedure, placing a shunt to relieve the pressure in her brain. She fought and handled the surgery with her consistent strength. They also identified a large blood clot on the base of her brain. It was too risky to operate, so they continued to monitor her very closely.”

Throughout all of this, Brynn fought for survival and prevailed, receiving blood transfusions and a startling diagnosis.

“Our sweet and special Brynn has been diagnosed with factor XIII deficiency. It’s a VERY rare blood disorder, 1 in 5 million,” says Lindsay.  “She’s “red carpet” status at Cincinnati Children’s, as it is the first case they have ever seen or treated. The research team at Children’s helped us confirm this recessive gene disorder. While her long care is constant, we are so thankful for her life. We call her our ‘winning lottery ticket’–1 in 5 million.”

In addition to the incredible team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, blood donors played a critical role in Brynn’s survival.

“Blood donors are our HEROES.  They give Brynn life, and they give our family life,” says Lindsay. “As parents, we are here to protect our children—but we are at the mercy of blood donors, which is a truly humbling feeling.  It has taught Mike and I a lot about the human spirit, selfless compassion, and pure goodness in people.”

“To donors, we say THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts,” she continues. “We have Brynn because of YOU.  Now she can continue to grow and thrive.  She has so much purpose and because of YOU, a blood donor, she is going to be able to show this world purpose.”

But Lindsay isn’t stopping at just saying “thank you”—she’s taking her gratitude one step further and paying it forward. 

“Mike and I had never given blood before.  We donated for the first time this winter, on a donor bus.  We thought, ‘Wow, that was so easy!’  Then I began to reflect on how we could celebrate Brynn’s first birthday in a unique and meaningful way.  I called Hoxworth and asked to speak to someone who could help me coordinate a drive.”

In honor of Brynn’s incredible journey and to celebrate her first birthday, Lindsay and her family are organizing the ‘Brynn’s Birthday Blood Drive’ to collect lifesaving blood donations and save even more lives in the Cincinnati community.

“We want to ‘pay it forward’ to those that have helped us along our journey,” Lindsay explains. “We want to show our gratitude, by giving back, as well as bringing awareness to how important, and EASY, donating blood can be. People want to ‘help’ or ‘give’ in times of crisis, and this blood drive is a way for people to truly give back.  We are starting a tradition, and it begins this year!”

Reflecting on the past year, Lindsay is certain that Brynn is here to celebrate her first birthday because of the compassionate team at Cincinnati Children’s, and the generosity of blood donors—and when she looks at her “1 in 5 million” daughter, she is reminded how much good there is in the world.

“Mike and I feel so lucky to be Brynn’s parents,” she says. “Brynn has taught us how precious life is. She has taught us how much good exists. She is so special. She has so much purpose. She has such a bright future.” 

A future, she adds, made possible by blood donors.  To the donors who saved her life, Lindsay has one last message of gratitude.

“THANK YOU for all that you do!  What you do matters.  Blood transfusions SAVED Brynn’s life. They save Brynn’s life EACH day.  We have our sweet girl with us EVERY day because of generous and selfless blood donors…and we can’t wait for her to continue to show this world what she’s made of. After all, she is 1 in 5 million.” 

Here is a list of upcoming Hoxworth Blood Drives: 

October

10/26/20 – Jungle Jim’s Fairfield

10/27/20 – Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

November

11/3/20 – West Chester Church of the Nazarene Blood Drive

11/21/20 – Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Hoxworth Blood Drive

11/24/20 – Rookwood Commons Hoxworth Blood Drive

11/25/20 – Oakley Community Blood Drive

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Learn about a local company that grows, sells and delivers a variety of microgreens to the local area through a subscription-based program.

Cliff’s Greens is on a mission to have a positive impact on the community through healthy eating.

“Cliff’s Greens is an urban farm that grows, sells and delivers organic microgreens to the local Cincinnati community,” says Clifford Hammoor, Founder of Cliff’s Greens LLC. What are microgreens? They “are essentially the seedlings of herbs and vegetables,” Hammoor says. “They are super flavorful and grow well in relatively small indoor space, which I am currently limited to.”

There are a variety of products sold through the business. “Cliff’s Greens grows, sells and delivers a variety of microgreens to the local area through a subscription-based program. Customers sign up for a subscription service on the website, cliffsgreens.com, and they receive their favorite microgreens delivered to their door on a regular basis,” he says. “The microgreens I’m currently growing include: arugula, broccoli, radish, salad mix, sunflower shoots and pea shoots. They usually taste similar to the full-grown crop, but with more intensity!”

There are many health benefits with microgreens. “Though there are a lot of factors, most microgreens contain a higher concentration of nutrients than the full-grown crop,” Hammoor says. “Most importantly to me, though, is that it’s super easy to incorporate microgreens into almost any dish-whether cooked, raw, on top or as a side salad- so people can make any meal fresher and more nutritious year-round and without needing much adjustment to their routines.”

Cliff’s Greens is located out of the apartment of Hammoor in the Gaslight District of Cincinnati, where he operates the business by himself. 

The inspiration behind starting the business came from interning at an urban farm in Denver, Colorado. “There, I became more aware of how important easy access to healthy, local food is and the impact it has on the surrounding community and overall food system,” Hammoor says. “After moving back to UC to finish my final semester, I wanted to see how I could participate in the local food system.”

The microgreens come from his own personal grow room. Hammoor defines success with Cliff’s Greens by “having a positive impact on the health of my customers,” he says. Growing his own product allows Hammoor to positively impact the community around him. 

The vision for the business is to “help community members develop a healthy relationship with their food choices and their local food system,” Hammoor says. Cliff’s Greens is a unique business of the Cincinnati area. “What makes Cliff’s Greens special is that fresh greens are handed to the customers by the farmer who grows them,” he says.

Hammoor’s favorite part of the job is spending time in his grow room. “It’s warm, bright and it smells amazing,” he says. “I also love hearing excited customers talk about all the ways they are using the greens!”

To follow what Cliff’s Greens is doing, follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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