Celebrating People in Action

April 24, 2010 at 2:36 pm

In honor of National Volunteer Week, Puget Sound Blood Center thanks volunteers such as you for your time, talent and contributions to our mission of saving lives.

In 2009, more than 2,100 volunteers registered donors, monitored donors, couriered blood to and from hospitals, called and scheduled donors’ appointments, helped donors join the Be The Match Marrow Registry and completed numerous administrative tasks for a total of 105,000 hours of volunteer service! What an extraordinary act of kindness and an amazing level of commitment you have shown to our community.

You, as a Volunteer of the Blood Center, are truly valued and appreciated and are an essential asset to the organization. You play a key role in the work that we do. “Thank You” is certainly not enough to express our gratitude for all the time, energy and dedication you have given to the Blood Center, but since it is all we have, we simply say, “THANK YOU!”

If you wish to become a volunteer, learn the many ways you can help.

Hitting the Road to Donate (Part Three): The Fine Art of Phlebotomy

March 23, 2010 at 9:38 am

Steven Pogge and Debra Monroe

Guest Blog Post by Steven Pogge

Thanks to Steven Pogge for chronicling his mission to donate at all 11 donor centers in Western Washington, and for acknowledging staff and volunteers at each center. In this post, he honors Debra Monroe, a phlebotomist of the Federal Way Donor Center.

I have always marveled at the job the techs do at Puget Sound Blood Center. Over the years I have come to realize how many different aspects of the job there actually are.

Of all the people that are involved in collecting blood and blood products, it is the Phlebotomists that are on the front lines. They are the foot soldiers of the Blood Center. They interact daily with the volunteers, management, transport, tech support and of course the donors. They are required to be constantly cheerful even on days they are not feeling particular happy. They are sometimes swamped with donors and other times it can be painfully slow. Keeping things meticulously clean and germ free is one of their top duties. When dealing with blood everything has to be check, doubled checked and checked again. The rules and regulations are constantly changing and must be followed to a T. They are required to find out very personal facts from donors such as sexual history, medications and lifestyle. They deal with enough paperwork to make a bureaucrat cringe and sometimes are called upon to be techno wizards when the computer or printer breaks down. In addition to all this, they sometimes need to deal with reactions to donations. They also must remain polite to some quirky donors. Granted, most donors are the nicest, most normal people you ever want to meet, but you do find once in awhile a rather odd personality will grace the doors.

In my recent quest to donate at all the centers, all phlebotomists have done these duties with grace, cheerfulness and proficiency. One phlebotomist especially stands out in my mind. She works at the Federal Way Donor center and her name is Debra Monroe. Deb has done this work for quite a few years and has a lot of experience but she still hasn’t lost that freshness and energy. One of the things I find most appealing is that she is always happy and has a kind word to say to everyone. She has excellent blood drawing skills and handles each aspect of the job with confidence and professionalism. She is genuine and open and willing to share parts of her life that she loves and enjoys. Having grown up on an Iowa farm, I love to hear about Piggy, her pot belly pig, in addition to the other animals on her small farm. Along with sharing, she is also a great listener even when I ramble on. Deb treats everyone as an individual person and not just another pint of blood. She is this way not only with the donors but also the volunteers. I noticed she tends to always thanks us when our volunteer shift is done. It is always nice to be appreciated.

Thank you, Debra. It is the people like you that keep me coming back year after year.

Thank you, Steven! Eagerly we await the next installment in your quest across Western Washington.


Sean DeButts, Social Media Coordinator
Puget Sound Blood Center

Hitting the Road to Donate (Part Two): It’s More than Juice and Cookies.

March 15, 2010 at 10:29 am

Louise & Steven at the Tukwila Donor Center

Guest Blog Post by Steven Pogge

Thanks to Steven Pogge for chronicling his mission to donate at all 11 donor centers in Western Washington. Steven is going to write about the workers and volunteers at each center who touch him in a positive way during the donation process. He said those people could be registration volunteers, canteen volunteers, nurses, center supervisors, coordinators or phlebotomists.

After donating and volunteering for years at the same center in Olympia, I decided to venture out and check out the other blood centers to see if the high standards and friendly atmosphere were the same all through the system.  What I found surprised me; each center had it own micro culture.  All were doing exactly the same thing, but the different individuals made each center unique.  As I continued my quest, I found a few individuals to stand out among the many dedicated and professional volunteers and staff.  It is these few people, each doing a different job, I would like to tell you about.

The first person I would like to write about is a canteen volunteer at Tukwila.  Louise was her name and like many of the volunteers with PSBC she had a few years under her belt.  She was well into her 80’s, looked like she was in her 70’s, had the energy of someone in their 60’s, and the quickness of mind of a 50 year old.  My drink was ready before I even had a chance to sit down.  How did she know what I wanted?  When I arrived, I had forgotten that I had casually mentioned to her that I would be over to see her for coffee in a little while.  When I came to the canteen an hour and a half later, sure enough, a cup of coffee was waiting for me. One can sometimes feel a positive energy in people and it was obvious that Louise hadn’t lost that energy or zest for life.  As we struck up a conversation, I knew that I was talking not only to someone who was intelligent and willing to share her opinion but one who was also willing to listen to mine.  If you sat down with someone three decades older than yourself, you would think there would be little in common to discuss.  We soon learned that we had both grown up in rural western Iowa and had attended the same college after high school.

It was called Iowa State Teaching College when she went and change to the University of Northern Iowa when I went in the 70’s.  We even laughed about the nickname of the clock tower that all undergraduates have joked about since the school built it back in the twenties.  I ended up staying well past my 10 minutes allotment talking, laughing and marveling at a woman who lived through wars, depressions and hardship but still was positive and present in the joy of the moment.  Thank you Louise, not only for the juice and cookies but for making my donation that day memorable.

Thank you, Steven! We look forward to reading the next installment in your journey across Western Washington.


Sean DeButts, Social Media Coordinator
Puget Sound Blood Center

Donor Profile: Ted Dimitriou

March 10, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Ted Dimitriou, 78, has donated blood 252 times with Puget Sound Blood Center. Ready to try something new, Ted made his first platelet donation on Saturday and plans to reach at least 260 combined donations. Ted said he saw the importance of blood donation while serving in the military. He has a straightforward reason for giving of himself so regularly.

“I donate because I know I’ll be helping someone I can never meet, and I’m helping them regardless of race, religion, gender or age,” Ted said. “It’s as simple as that.”

Thank you, Ted! Your donations have saved as many as 752 lives.

You can save lives, too. Combine efforts with your friends and hold a Social Network Blood Drive at your local donor center.


Sean DeButts, Social Media Coordinator

Puget Sound Blood Center

Hitting the Road to Donate (Part One)

January 26, 2010 at 11:45 am

Thanks to Steve Pogge for telling us about his mission to donate at all 11 of our donor centers in Western Washington! That’s dedication.

People do different things with their free time. I tend to be a little different than most in this regard. Having just entered my second half century of life, I decided it was about time to start taking some of the less traveled roads that I had bypassed earlier in my life. One of these roads is volunteering and community service. Which led me to Puget Sound Blood Center. It not only became a passion of mine but I found I enjoyed both volunteering and donating.

I became friends with many of the staff and volunteers at the Olympia center, where most of my donations have been made. However, I had a curiosity about the other centers around Western Washington. Did they look the same? Were the people as friendly and pleasant in Bellingham as they were in Vancouver? Which center had the best needle pokers? How did the others compare to my home center in Olympia?

I decided to embark on a one man quest to find out. I obtained a list of centers and decided to visit all eleven in the course of a year. Seeing that many were several hours away, I decided to also be environmentally sound and try and get to each center without the use of my automobile. I came up with several options on how to do this but I was not sure all were feasible or even possible. I like to think of myself as a friend of the earth but in reality I drive my car about 90% of the time so this was also going to be a learning experience in mass transit and learning how to get to places out of the physical area that I knew. I came up with a list of possible combinations of transport and decided to try to implement all, at least once, in my quest. Here was my list: city bus, Amtrak, bicycle, car pool, walking, Grey hound bus, hitchhiking, electric or hybrid car, commuter train, roller blades, and scooter. Many suggested I give up hitchhiking, and I didn’t even know anyone with an electric car but I did have plenty of other options and I set off a year ago to achieve my goal.

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