How I Met a Real-Life Vampire: A Volunteer’s Experience

December 21, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Thanks to Eric Morton for sharing this post. An aspiring writing and dedicated volunteer, Eric has been registering donors at the Central Seattle Donor Center for more than a year.

Okay, technically they aren’t vampires, they’re phlebotomists. But either way, they’re more than happy to take your blood.

I’m referring, of course, to those folks at the Puget Sound Blood Center that poke you in the arm when you stop by to donate blood. And whatever you want to call them, they’re fun and friendly folks. In fact, I’ll make a more general statement. All of the staff at the Puget Sound Blood Center are fun and friendly folks. So, too, are the volunteers. (Though I may be a bit biased in holding that last opinion.

I mention this because it is one of the reasons that volunteering at the Puget Sound Blood Center is so rewarding. You find yourself surrounded by a bunch of great people. Add to that a volunteer coordinator who bends over backwards to accommodate your schedule. And, of course, all of the other amazing volunteers whose paths you may cross. It all adds up to a very rewarding conclusion: as a volunteer, you will find that you are always appreciated.

If you have never volunteered before, but are considering it, here is something else to bear in mind. Things like work and school are often lousy because you have to be there. In contrast, volunteers are only doing volunteer work because they choose to be there. Surprisingly, this small distinction makes a world of difference. There is something particularly rewarding about taking on a task not because you have to, but because you want to. Especially when that task is one that ultimately helps save lives.

Plus, you get to tell all your friends that you hang out with vampires. And mean it.

There are many opportunities to volunteer at Puget Sound Blood Center. 

Joshua Wong: Double Red Cell Hero

December 1, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Joshua Wong, an enthusiastic supporter of blood donation, recently made his first donation of double red cells. Double red cell donation is an apheresis donation in which two units red blood cells are collected, and the plasma and platelet portions of the blood are returned. This double donation can be crucial to the survival of patients receiving numerous transfusions.

Eligible donors can give double red cells every 16 weeks or 112 days, and the entire appointment takes 85 minutes. Donors must be of certain blood types and meet special height and weight requirements. To learn more, visit the Double Red Cell Program page or call 1-800-398-7888.

By donating, Joshua also made a valuable contribution to the Asian American community in Western Washington. Less than one percent of donors in Western Washington belong to ethnic minorities. While most patients can receive blood from donors of the same blood type, some need closely matched blood, which is most likely to come from donors of the same ethnicity. To learn more, visit the Perfect Match Program page.

Thank You, Joshua!

How I Became a Volunteer for Puget Sound Blood Center

November 17, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Thanks to Shyam for telling his story:

“Volunteers needed,” flashed a bold red poster from the Puget Sound Blood Center, as I was picking up my mail after work, in my apartment complex. About a year and a half into my first real job after college, I had not done a single volunteering job. Before that, I somehow managed to find time in between my busy grad school classes and assignments to volunteer in some community based organizations in and around my University. I had been looking to find a volunteer group ever since I came to Seattle, but never made a real effort to find one. I had become too busy caught up with work.

A voice inside me prompted me to take the volunteer contact info from the poster. I did and as I was walking into the elevator, I realized that my good intentions to volunteer would not mean anything to the community if I didn’t actually do anything about it. I decided to stop procrastinating and to call the volunteer co-coordinators. I actually dialed her number right after I got off the elevator. I did not want to put this off any longer. I could not take the guilt of being selfish, and not giving back anything to the community. So Kathie (the then volunteer co-coordinators in the Central Seattle branch) called me back the next day to schedule my first session.

On my first day, Kathie greeted me and gave me a quick introduction about the Blood Center. Then, she introduced me to Kristi (another volunteer), who taught me the different steps involved in registering donors. It was simple, and it took me about 10 minutes before I could register my first donor. I was thrilled with my first registration. I could really feel a spark rekindle within me doing something like this again. It was a matter of days before I got my permanent shift (second and fourth Thursdays of the month). I thought, I could definitely handle six hours a month of volunteering, in spite of an active social and professional life. It is a lot easier than I thought and I look forward to my volunteering shifts.

I really enjoy being a “donor registration volunteer” at Puget Sound Blood Center. It gives me a chance to meet and work with some wonderful people, who really care about the noble mission of “saving lives.” These little acts of kindness can go a long way in helping someone, be it Jessica who is fighting blood cancer or Chris who just had a life threatening accident. I get to be a part of something extra ordinary that really makes a difference to this the world. I had pledged some gifts in the past year but volunteering again made me realize that monetary gifts can only go so far and can never match the time and effort that you give to the community. Volunteering gives me time off from work and helps focus my energies on something entirely different. And the feeling that you one gets at the end of the day is priceless. So what are you waiting for….give us a call. You have no idea how many lives you could help save.

You too can become a volunteer. There many ways to help the Blood Center and the community.

Platelet Donation and Matched Platelet Donations in Western Washington

September 11, 2009 at 12:30 pm

     Recently, many people in Western Washington have asked about platelet donation and matched platelet donations. We explain here why platelets are so important for cancer patients and victims of severe injuries, and how matched platelet donations happen. Eligibility information and donation scheduling resources are here for you as well. Feel free to try the new Facebook scheduling application!

     Thank you for helping to save lives in your community!

Why should I become a platelet donor?
     Every month, hundreds of patients in Western Washington need platelet transfusions to support them through treatments for leukemia, lymphoma, burns, traumatic injuries and other life-threatening conditions. Platelets are small cell fragments in the blood that help control bleeding and allow healing.

Can I direct my platelet donation to a specific patient?
     Most patients can receive unmatched platelet donations. Only about four percent of platelet donations in Western Washington are matched, and the Blood Center contacts donors as soon as they are found to be a match.

What is the best way I can help?
     The best way to help is to become a regular donor of whole blood or platelets. Each platelet donation gives up to 12 times the number of platelets as a single whole blood donation. If you become a platelet match for a patient, Puget Sound Blood Center will contact you right away.

How do I donate platelets?
     During an apheresis donation, blood is drawn from your arm into a machine that separates your platelets from your other blood components. The platelets are collected in a bag, and the remaining blood components are returned to you. The process takes approximately two hours. Another option is to start with whole blood donation (an approximately 10 minute procedure), and then try platelet donation.

Who is Eligible to Donate?
     If you meet the requirements for donating blood, you probably can give platelets. Apheresis donors must:

     -Be at least 18 years old
     -Be in good health
     -Weigh at least 110 pounds
     -Take no aspirin or products containing aspirin 48 hours prior to donation.

If you have a question regarding your eligibility, contact

Call: 800-366-2831, x2543

How can I schedule a donation?
Call: 1-800-398-7888
Visit: Online Appointments
Visit: Puget Sound Blood Center Facebook Application
Visit: Southwest Washington Blood Program Facebook Application

Patients in Western Washington need 900 blood product donations per day. Patients heal and recover thanks to the generosity of donors such as yourself.

Sean
Social Media Coordinator
Puget Sound Blood Center

Using social media for marrow registration

June 9, 2009 at 1:04 pm

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