Russia blood drive honors memory of Ben Berning

RUSSIA — Community Blood Center, the region’s first blood bank, is celebrating a new era in helping save lives under its new name, Solvita Blood Center. Register to donate with Solvita at the St. Remy’s Hall community blood drive in remembrance of Ben Berning Tuesday, Sept. 12, from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. at 101 Remy St., Russia.

The blood drive in memory of Ben Berning comes near the one-year anniversary of his death from small cell lung cancer. Ben is survived by his wife Becky and their four children. Becky is the daughter of St. Remy’s blood drive coordinators Carl and Betty York. The family hopes to raise awareness about the need for blood, especially for cancer patients.

“I was a nurse for a lot of years. I know the need is there,” said Becky. “If this would help encourage people to donate, that would be a positive to come out of Ben’s death.”

Cancer and its treatment can damage blood cells causing many cancer patients to rely on blood and platelet transfusions to help them survive. One fourth of all blood donations go to cancer patients.

Becky started donating in high school and has 47 lifetime blood donations. She is scheduled to make her first platelet donation at the St. Remy’s blood drive.

“I don’t know how many units of platelets Ben received those first days,” she said. “He was getting them about every eight hours.”

Community Blood Center’s new name Solvita comes from “sol” meaning sun and “vita” meaning life. As sunlight nurtures new life, Solvita takes the gift from blood donors and transforms it into new hope.

It’s a new name, but the donor experience remains the same. Solvita must register 350 donors every day to meet the needs of the hometown hospitals and patients in our community.

Make an appointment online at, call 937-461-3220, or use the Donor Time app. Everyone who registers to donate will receive a special edition quarter-zip, long-sleeve shirt featuring the new Solvita logo.

Everyone who registers to donate Sept. 5-30 at any blood drive, or the Dayton Solvita Donation Center is automatically entered in the drawing to win a pair of tickets to “The Game,” the Nov. 25 meeting between Ohio State and Michigan Nov. 25 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The winner will also receive an Expedia gift card for hotel and travel.

Donors can save time while helping save lives by using “DonorXPress” to complete the donor questionnaire before arriving at a blood drive. Find DonorXPress on the Donor Time App or at