Mark makes 100th whole blood donation at 48

September 23, 2013 at 11:20 am
Mark Lally

Mark and his many pins

Mark Lally is a regular blood donor at the Puget Sound Blood Center in Olympia. Last month, he donated his 100th pint of whole blood.

This is an extraordinary achievement for anyone, but what makes Mark’s accomplishment even more impressive is that he is just 48 years old. Usually donors who achieve this milestone are at least 10 to 20 years older. 92% of people don’t give blood at all, and those who do, give infrequently.

Mark says,

My first blood donations were during college blood drives at Gonzaga. I continued to donate through college and law school, but when I came back to the Northwest in 1990, is when I started donating regularly at the Puget Sound Blood Center. My initial donations were up at the PSBC in Bellevue, but once I moved down [to Olympia], I either went to the Olympia Center (on Eastside Street) or at the Legislative Building on the Capitol Campus when they had a mobile drive.

So it has taken me about twenty-three years to get to one hundred units at the PSBC with an average of 4 or 5 per year.

There are hundreds of patients in our community who rely on the generosity of strangers to provide the blood that they need to live. You can be part of someone’s miracle.

You’ll never know whose life you saved, but you will know that you saved a life.

Back to school tips for high school blood donors

September 16, 2013 at 8:55 am
Krti and Becca recruit donors in Vancouver

Becca and Krti recruit donors in Vancouver

It’s back to school season, and here at PSBC this means gearing up for high school blood drives.

Last year, 20,913 high school students registered to donate blood at 344 blood drives in schools across Western Washington. As the single largest donor group, high school students contribute 16% of our region’s blood supply.

Students who are 16 or 17 years old may donate with a permission slip signed by a parent or guardian. Like all donors, they must weigh at least 110 pounds and meet the other eligibility criteria.

We strive to make our high school blood drives a positive experience thereby inspiring students to become lifelong blood donors. In order to have the best possible experience, we tell students to prepare by:

  • getting a good night’s rest
  • drinking plenty of fluids
  • having a hearty breakfast on the morning of the drive.

It’s just like preparing for a big test, but without all the studying!

Elma HS students gear up for a drive

Elma HS students gear up for a drive

We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the creative and hard-working students and administrators who are an absolutely essential part of making these drives a success. From making sure the gym is unlocked on the day of the drive, to spending their lunch hours asking their friends to donate, to developing brilliant social media marketing campaigns, we sincerely appreciate the spirit and leadership of all involved.

If you are interested in hosting a blood drive at your school, contact your area’s donor group recruitment coordinator or visit the blood drives page on for more information.


Blood Center Volunteer Courier program

September 2, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Photo by Chad Emerson

One of the coolest things about the Blood Center is the awesome people we have volunteering here! Naomi is a prime example.

By day, she’s an HR Director in the Hotel Industry. By night? Oh, you might find her studying quantum mechanics for fun, reading sci fi (Dune is one of her favorite books, but Frank Herbert is not her favorite author – you know how that goes) or… driving blood products around for Puget Sound Blood Center!

We have about 50 people who give the gift of time in this way. Our volunteer couriers provide an important service: transporting blood products and supplies between the downtown Seattle Center and our satellite labs in the U District and Bellevue for testing.

Three shifts a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year (because patients in hospitals are always in need, even on the holidays). They work behind the scenes and the time they give is crucial to our mission.

Kyle McDonald, who oversees PSBC’s courier program, says,

Volunteers are essential because they augment what we can do at the Blood Center.

How? Well, though we tend to think that what comes out of our veins during donation gets transfused into a patient in the same state, whole blood is actually divided into three separate components: red cells, platelets, and plasma — this is why we say that “one donation saves three lives.” After blood leaves the body, we have just 5 hours to separate these components, and without our volunteers, we often wouldn’t be able to meet this critical deadline.

If we host a drive in, say, the San Juan Islands, a volunteer courier will pick up the blood and take it to the airport, where it is flown to Seattle by volunteer pilots, then picked up by another courier and driven to our testing centers for processing.

It’s a big group effort: volunteer couriers work hand-in-hand with our blood collection services to make sure that blood gets where it needs to be.

Says Naomi,

I could spend the time sitting at home playing video games, but that wouldn’t be helping my community. I like to stay busy, and ultimately I’m helping people.

Yep, she is. And we’re grateful.

For more info on becoming a volunteer courier, email Jen at

I feel as if I am personally responsible for saving many lives every day.

November 30, 2010 at 2:03 pm

David Lazar, Blood Hero

By David Lazar

I’ve been giving blood all my life. This year, I switched to plasma at the request of the Blood Center. I’ve always believed that if by doing an act, I can help, and I don’t have a good reason not to do so, then it is my responsibility.

We’ve all seen the Blood Center’s signs stating, “Imagine Saving a Life.” While this is probably aimed at recruiting new blood donors, it makes me feel good whenever I see it. I feel as if I am personally responsible for saving not just a single life, but many lives every day. I find it easy to believe that many of my friends and neighbors who have been sick or injured have benefited from my donation – even if they did not receive the exact blood that I gave.

So why do I give blood? Perhaps it is the ability to help others in the community who are least able to help themselves. Perhaps it is the fact that this is a way I can ensure there is help for me if I ever need it. But the most compelling reason, to me, is that it is so easy – it requires no money, no more than an hour or two, and my body quickly regenerates whatever I give.

For all these reasons, I will continue to give, and I will continue telling my friends, my kids, and my workmates how good it makes me feel. To life!

Schedule your own blood donation at a donor center.

Edited by Sean DeButts, Social Media Coordinator

A Wedding Anniversary Donation: The Family that Donates together Stays together.

October 25, 2010 at 7:45 am

Patrick and Michelle are celebrating their marriage in a very generous way on Oct. 25, 2010.

Today is our 8th wedding anniversary and my husband and I decided to donate together.

Through the years, Patrick and I have been pretty faithful in donating blood. Over time, we’ve had to reschedule donation appointments and rarely have we ended up donating on the same day. There have been times he’s had a cold or I’ve not had enough iron to donate. Nevertheless, we continue to come back every 56 days or so. We have both been touched by the need for blood donations; his mother received five transfusions when she was in the hospital battling lymphoma and I received two after suffering a miscarriage. My mother was also the recipient of a blood transfusion shortly before she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Long before we met, my husband started giving blood on a whim when the blood mobile was at Boeing in the 1990s. After that he did it every so often, but not on a regular basis. I had given blood on a whim as well in the late 1990s at Bellevue College. I was walking to an anthropology class I wasn’t too thrilled with and needed a good reason to not go. Why not give blood?

After we met, we started donating on a more regular basis. We both have type O Positive and if we happen to let more than a few weeks go by, we get friendly calls asking for a donation. When we have the universal blood type, it’s hard not to think of those people who need our blood. After seeing that so many people can benefit from our donation, we’ve decided to make it on a much more regular basis now.

Last Tuesday, I was set to give blood, but came down with a terrible cold and cough. When I called to change the appointment, I decided we needed to start donating together and why not start with our anniversary on October 25th? We have been through a lot with illness in our family and those times when our loved ones have needed blood, someone out there had been kind and generous enough to give so that my family and others had another chance at life.

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