Sun June 26, 2011
Blood Drive Today

KUNC, Weld County United Way Team Up for Community Blood Drive

Every three seconds, someone in America needs blood. And the need is even higher during the summer months – especially over the upcoming  4th of July holiday weekend.

Andrea Hawkins is the donor recruitment coordinator for North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley. They provide all the blood that’s used at NCMC, McKee Medical Center in Loveland, Sterling regional hospital and east Morgan County.  So, Andrea, what is it about 4th of July that pushes the need higher?

Andrea:  Unfortunately during the Fourth of July, there are so many people out enjoying activities that it increases the number of unfortunate accidents and trauma victims, and burn victims.  Our cancer patients are the number one users of our blood products.  But during the fourth of July holiday, there’s such an increase in those types of other tragedies, that we really do need to have a higher inventory ready to go for the 4th of July weekend.

Erin:  Meg and Ron Gallegos – you have a personal experience with this.  Your daughter was in a serious traffic accident when she was a freshman at Arizona State University in 2004…

Ron:  The truck that she was traveling in rolled down a mountain, and she broke her pelvis and had to be airlifted to the hospital in Arizona.  She needed four transfusions to make it through the night. And if it weren’t for those four transfusions , I don’t think she’d be here today, so that’s the reason we always give back.

Erin: You guys kind of make donating a family affair, is that right?

Meg:  All of us donate.. myself, my husband, son and daughter, we all donate regularly, so yeah, it is sort of like a little family affair.  Sometimes we get to go together, and sometimes our schedules won’t allow it but we all try to go regularly.  It’s just such an easy thing to do; it’s a great thing to do, giving to the community like that.  You never know when the need’s going to arise.  We had no idea this would happen to our daughter. And you know, if the blood hadn’t been there, it would have been a tragedy, she would have died.  So it’s great for the hospital to have a stockpile of it.

Erin:  And Jenny Henderson is here in the studio as well, now you’re an advocate for donating and you’re a long-time donor also?

Jenny:  I have been donating since I was about 17.  I’m originally from Fargo, N.D. and my Dad and I used to go in regularly, and we would kind of make it our special time. My mom doesn’t donate, but my dad and I do, and it’s always a unique experience.

Erin: Yeah, that’s an interesting kind of bonding…

Jenny:  Yeah, you know, and we’re both athletic and kind of competitive- minded, and we actually race when we’re in there; we have the people poke us at the same time, and we try to pump our blood faster than the other… (laughs) We might be weird, but you’ve gotta make it fun, and it’s not all bad!  So, it’s great, we have a good time doing it.

Erin:  Sounds like it!  A lot of people have a story about why they give.  Is there something that motivates – you know, other than just you and your dad racing each other?

Jenny:  Right. Well, we were donating together prior to, but he had a total hip replacement and had complications during the surgery. He ended up in the ICU and needing seven units of blood. And so, without those seven units of blood throughout his time in ICU, similar to the Gallegos, my dad probably wouldn’t be here. And so donating now is a little bit more special, and near and dear to my heart.

Erin:  Let me come back to you, Andrea  -- as the donor recruitment coordinator for NCMC, how do you plan to have enough supply on hand at any given time?

Andrea:  We really do need 50 donors every day, to keep up with the demand that we have. Right now we’re averaging about 42, so I’ve got a little work to do on my end, to get us up to that 50. 

And to prove that we need each of those units, only point – zero – two percent  (.02%) of the blood that we collected last year in 2010 was destroyed, and not used.

Erin:  So you target based on the need, how many donors you need per day?

Andrea:  Right.  We’re very sensitive to the time that donors come in. We want them to know that their product – their blood, their life-saving liquid ‘red gold’ – will be used in patient care.

What’s amazing to me is 9 out of 10 people, at some point in their lives, will need a blood product. That’s 90% of the population.  So everyone should have a story about needing blood, plasma or platelets at some point in time. Without our donors we would have so many casualties that are needless.

(Another) fun fact is that men and post-menopausal women who donate three or more times during the year, reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke by 35% to 45%; which is an amazing health benefit for coming out and helping us save lives.

Erin: You can be a part of this life-saving effort by signing up for the KUNC and United Way of Weld County blood drive this coming Thursday, June 30 at the KUNC studios in Greeley.  You can find more details and make an appointment to donate here.