Give Life

December 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Xmas 2010 w_ Little Bros

If you could hold the baby that needs blood transfusions to live or talk to the 10-year-old boy who’s about to go in for open heart surgery, I bet you’d donate in a heartbeat.

Because the extra blood that you have in your body right now is what these kids need most this holiday season.

Someone who needs a blood transfusion is having a tough day. But if you are the one donating the blood that will save that person’s life? You, my friend, are having an awesome day… and your life will suddenly become meaningful in ways you can’t possibly imagine.

Let this be the best gift you give this winter.

Spotlight on: Angela Cai

December 3, 2013 at 8:24 am


Angela is bursting with enthusiasm for the blood drive she is organizing on December 3rd as Community Events Coordinator of the Campus Activities Board at South Puget Sound Community College! She is a recent graduate of Capital High School in Olympia and in her second year at SPSCC — she did Running Start. Her dream is to become a pharmacist, and she’s off to a great start by helping to build the blood supply. Here, we talk to her about her hopes for her drive.

How did you get involved with the Campus Activities Board?

I had a friend who is a member, and he encouraged me to try it.

Why did you decide to organize a blood drive?

This is one of the job competencies that I have to do [as Community Events Coordinator of the Campus Activities Board] – health related events and special events. My supervisor has had blood drives every year.

Are you a blood donor?

No, last time, when I was in summer school I tried to donate blood, but they had enough people and it was too late that day. My schedule won’t allow me to donate this time — I plan to donate the next blood drive, which I am working with PSBC to organize.

What are your greatest hopes for the drive?

I want to have a lot of donors to donate. So far, we have twenty donors signed up and I want to have 35. [as of publishing, her sign-up sheet is full!]


I hear you have been coming up with fun and creative strategies to inspire people who have never donated before to donate. Can you share some of these with me?

I told my friends to spread the word to their friends, I wrote emails to all staff members to tell their students to donate, and I made flyers to put around the campus so students can see. I also made an online show to put on the screens on campus. I really like making promotions. I first applied for graphics coordinator — I didn’t get that job, but it was okay.

What advice to you have for other students hoping to organize blood drives at their schools?

They should reach out to their students and try different ways to tell them why they should donate blood: you can help the community, help kids with illnesses and people in hospitals who need blood.

I’ll say that when you’re organizing an event, you should follow up – not just let it sit aside until they come. You need to be on top of it to regulate how many people sign up, and figure out how you can do better.

What has been the best part so far?

To see people signed up for it. It makes me happy that my efforts actually have some reward!

Chuck Colby, longtime donor and volunteer

November 7, 2013 at 9:34 am

Chuck with cookies and juice for donors

If you donate blood on Thursday evenings in Bellevue, Chuck Colby’s is a familiar face.

Chuck has been volunteering at our Bellevue Center for “probably 6 or 7 years,” though has been donating platelets for much longer — about 20 years.

Chuck made the transition from donor to volunteer based on his interactions with a particular donor monitor, the person who provides cookies and juice after your donation and helps you schedule your next visit.

I was donating [platelets] for a long time, and there was this one spectacular donor monitor. I saw him just having a good time and I said to myself, ‘shoot, that looks like something I could do.’

Being busy is no excuse: Chuck works 11 hour days (waking up at quarter to 4) but still makes the time to donate and volunteer. “Within 5 minutes, just being around the donors gets me going in a positive way. It’s just a great place because everyone you meet is a nice person — otherwise they wouldn’t be there.”

Chuck started donating whole blood because he “read in a newspaper about a kid who ate poison mushrooms and needed blood transfusions; it was a plea to get the blood they needed. Then, platelets to help kids with leukemia switched me.

Platelets have been his main focus ever since then. “I make a point in the canteen to recruit people to do platelets too. I’ve given platelets so often that I’m not just talking the talk — I’m walking the walk.

Talk about walking the walk: on November 2, 2013, Chuck made his 700th lifetime donation.


Chuck (right) poses with PSBC staff and fellow 700 club member David Heckel

Chuck says,

It’s funny — when I meet somebody [in the canteen], I don’t say, ‘I’m the 700 guy.’ I’ll be talking about the Tree of Life, and people will say, ‘there’s someone who’s at 700 donations!’ A phlebotomist will overhear this and say, ‘you’re talking to him!’

His three grown children also donate on a regular basis. A few Father’s Days ago, his two sons gave platelets with him, and his “bucket list” dream is to have a Father’s Day where all three of his children donate together — his daughter is now 18 and eligible.

What advice does he have for new platelet donors?

I always tell them, ‘you have to allow yourself more time. It’s a smaller needle — hurts for a moment at first like whole blood donation. There are 200 movies on DVD to watch, and the phlebotomist gives you a blanket or Tums if you feel some tingling.

Platelets are used for little kids who have leukemia — chemo kills platelets too. I always tell them, ‘if it’s going to help a little kid or a dog, you got me in.’ It’s why I started. You can also give 24 times a year, not just 6.

Also, I feel just like I did when I came in. I’m not going to run a marathon, but I feel like I could.

Chuck says about his role as a volunteer, “I’m just the middleman — the person receiving your donation can’t be there to thank you.

It’s a happy place — like Disneyland. We have fun. It’s serious, but there’s a real camaraderie between donors and staff.

Learn more about volunteering for PSBC or donating platelets.

Schedule your holiday donations today!

October 30, 2013 at 9:15 am


Halloween isn’t even over, but we’re already thinking about the winter holidays.

The holiday season is always a difficult time for the blood supply; many regular donors aren’t giving because they are out of town or busier than usual with added festivities, and winter colds and the flu make others temporarily ineligible.

Additionally, Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Wednesday this year, which further depletes the donor pool, as many people who might otherwise donate tack on an extra day of vacation. Camels may love Wednesday holidays, but blood centers do not!

hump day

To help ensure that we are able to supply blood to all 900 people who need it each day in Western Washington, we’re asking all of our regular donors the following:

Book your next appointment with the volunteer while you’re in the canteen enjoying juice and cookies.

Anyone who does so gets to add their name to our donor wall, as well as a few goodies.


There are advantages to doing this for you too:

  • Ensure that you continue saving lives every 56 days!
  • Call dibs on the best dates and times!
  • Get it on your calendar!
  • The only call you’ll receive from us is the courtesy reminder call the day before your next donation!

You can also book online using our snazzy new donor scheduling system, found at

So please — help us save lives this winter. Make your appointment today, if you haven’t already!

Donor profile: Steve Whalen

October 14, 2013 at 10:08 am

Giving blood is giving life.

steve1When Steve Whalen first donated blood in 1994, it was at his father’s request. His dad was having major surgery, and asked Steve to make a donation in his name.

After needing to take some time off because his work in pest control made him ineligible, Steve has been donating diligently since 2005; “at this point, I am committed to donating every two months and after each donation I schedule my subsequent appointment.” He has given 24 pints at PSBC, as well as more in California and other locations.

His dad is the reason he keeps coming back.  Steve remembers how appreciative his father, who has since passed away, was of this act, so continuing to donate is his way of thanking him.

Steve also knows that people need transfusions — a quarter of Americans will need one at some point in their lives — and hates to think that someone might die because of lack of blood.

Though he acknowledges that “it’s hard to say that the process itself has tremendous joy,” he enjoys the feeling he gets from donating.

The people who work there and volunteers are so appreciative of donors, but the real reason is the feeling of satisfaction that you’ve done something to help somebody.”

Steve’s advice for first time donors is to “relax. Take a deep breath and focus more on the big picture, the good that you’re doing, and less on the needles. Also, be aware that everyone who works there or volunteers there is there to help.

Schedule your donation today


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