Our President & CEO, Dr. James P. AuBuchon, gave these remarks at PSBC Founders Day on September 17, 2014.
Welcome to PSBC Founders Day, celebrating our 70th anniversary of service to the communities of Western Washington, Alaska and now Oregon, too.
In 1944, King County citizens created one of America’s first non-profit community blood banks. A list of those visionary leaders is on the Founders Wall across the lobby. Many of those families are still active supporters seven decades later.
Today, we are much more than a place for collecting, testing and providing blood for nearly 90 hospitals in the Pacific Northwest – though we have always excelled in that vital role. Just as we did in 1944, we still provide patient crossmatching for most King County hospitals. When doctors in the region need to consult about difficult transfusion issues, they still call our physicians. We provide treatment and support to people with blood disorders like hemophilia, and for patients with other bleeding disorders. When patients have complex cross-matching needs, hospitals rely on our Red Cell Reference lab.
Over our long and storied history we never stopped offering new and needed medical services. We were trailblazers in tissue services. Our diagnostic labs developed techniques to match donor organs with patients waiting for a lifesaving transplant. We collect umbilical cord blood used in stem cell transplants for cancer patients. We register donors for the National Marrow Donor Program, and we collect stem cells when local donors are matched with a patient in need of a marrow transplant.
Importantly, our research sets us apart. We’re one of only four blood centers in the US doing multidisciplinary blood research — advancing transfusion practices, and in increasing shelf life for blood components. Other investigators are exploring how to diagnose and prevent blood clots – blockages that can cause strokes and heart attacks, which together are the leading cause of premature death worldwide. You will also find our physicians in medical schools and professional conferences helping to educate other doctors about the latest blood science and best transfusion practices.
One thing hasn’t changed a bit in 70 years: The foundation for our success is volunteers. Today, they number more than 250,000 strong. That includes our blood donors, blood drive volunteers and many others who help us deliver our mission every day. People also donate by making financial contributions that sustain our services and the groundbreaking research we do. This “extended PSBC family” connects us with the community. For 70 years they have been the cornerstone of our success. We are deeply grateful for their help and steadfast support. And we need them now more than ever.
Our passion for community service has been constant over our 70 years. Our commitment to the best quality of patient care is steadfast. We have been described as “a blood center that knows patients,” and this is an wonderful and appropriate accolade. Our dedication to advancing medical science through research is unwavering. The community knows it can depend on lifesaving assistance from Puget Sound Blood Center – today and tomorrow as it has for 70 years of yesterdays.
I believe that if the founders were here today, they would be proud of what has grown from their initiative. They might be surprised by the size of our role as a critical link in regional healthcare and blood research. They certainly would marvel at revolutionary changes in medical science, and the breadth and depth of expertise that now resides here.
What might they say to us today? I think the Founders would renew their challenge to us. “What’s next?” they’d ask. “What discoveries are ahead that will advance medical science and improve patient care? What new services and milestones will mark our next 70 years?”
Today we are 70 years and counting. More than ever, we’re counting on all our employees and our volunteers. We recognize and appreciate everything you have done — and will continue to do — to build on the legacy of excellence and accomplishment that we celebrate on this Founders Day.