Neighbors in the community

February 27, 2014 at 8:00 am

By Deanna Bolio

There’s a lot of talk about high school and college mobile drives here at Stanford Blood Center, and for good reason, but community blood drives are also a vital part of blood collections.

tim_hernandezfamilySome community drives are patient-focused, such as Ava’s Blood Drive, coordinated by Bob and Cristal Hernandez in memory of their daughter. Ava passed away from neuroblastoma at four years old. Held each July in front of the Hernandez home in San Jose, this blood drive provides a nice inventory boost during a difficult time in the year. The drive has collected 508 units in its five years.

Paul B. Newman is another fantastic community blood drive coordinator. His connection to blood donation began in 2003, when he and his son were involved in a serious car accident on Highway 85. They were struck by another vehicle going 100+ miles per hour, causing their car to roll over.

Paul and his son were rushed to a trauma center where, fortunately, their injuries turned out to be minor. In a later meeting with their ambulance drivers, Paul asked what he could do to give back to the community and was told to “give blood as much as you can.” Since then, Paul has held two blood drives each year, in March and September. The drives combined to collect 227 units in 2013.

“We’re always looking to grow our community drives, especially in the South Bay, where we don’t have any centers,” said Karen Hendryk, Donor Recruitment Manager. “We want donors to have a consistent place they can return to again and again.”

Some Stanford Blood Center employees have even gotten involved in setting up community blood drives. The Life-Saving Nurses Blood Drive started in April and is coordinated by charge nurse Chhay Te.

“We park the bus near San Jose State,” Hendryk said. “The thought was that it could be an annual event for graduating nurses who have finished the program.”

A second drive was held last November. They registered 46 donors, including 27 first-timers, and collected 44 units.

An Le is another charge nurse doing double duty. She coordinates the Montevideo Blood Drive in San Jose and kicked off 2014 with a drive on January 18. Nurse Karenina Mijares-Blanco convinced her church to hold a blood drive on January 5. Weeks before the drive, there were already 14 sign-ups.

It’s not easy to convince someone to become a blood donor. Our donor recruitment department is grateful for everyone working to help introduce potential donors to Stanford Blood Center.