Help Puget Sound Blood Center’s Courier Program

September 26, 2013 at 11:07 am

Tom’s wife received transfusions after an accident; today, he volunteers with our courier program.

Puget Sound Blood Center has been selected as a finalist in Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good for the third year in a row — we could potentially win a new Toyota Prius to deliver blood from our testing centers to 70 hospitals in Western Washington.

How patients and PSBC will benefit from a new Toyota Prius:

Meeting the needs for hospitals throughout Western Washington requires coordination of thousands of blood donors, armies of volunteers to deliver blood, and hundreds of miles on the road. A team of
machinists do their best to maintain our courier cars. However, with such heavy use the vehicles must eventually be replaced. Breakdowns are not an option when people’s lives are on the line.



Taylor is an example of a patient helped by our programs. When she was just twelve years old, she was diagnosed with leukemia. Over eight months of treatment, she received sixty-seven units of blood to help her survive. Today, Taylor is back to being a happy, active young woman. She owes her life to PSBC and to the donors who selflessly gave their blood. Thanks to our community’s support, Taylor can enjoy more birthdays, graduations, and other life celebrations.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5 is the big day.

We can’t do it without our community’s support. We need your vote.

  1. Vote for us on SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5. Log into Facebook and then go to or visit — look for us under “finalists.” Voting is open from 7 a.m. until 8:59:59 p.m. PT.
  2. Share this message with your family, friends, and colleagues and encourage their support in this national competition — ask them to vote for us on October 5.
  3. Set a voting reminder before October 5: find Puget Sound Blood Center under the “finalists” tab at and click the “remind me” link.


A couple of important pieces of information:

  • Depending on your individual settings, you may need to “allow” access to the voting app (you are not required to “like” the voting app). Additionally, use an up-to-date browser — if you are having problems, it could be related to your browser and/or security settings.
  • You are allowed two votes per Facebook account on October 5 — one for us and one for another organization you feel deserves a vehicle.

Please vote for Puget Sound Blood Center on October 5 — thousands of patients who need blood will thank you!


Looking Back and Looking Ahead

September 6, 2010 at 12:56 pm

By Bob Forgrave

By any measure, this August saw the most successful ever Swim for Life across Lake Washington. From swimmers and kayakers, we had 357 participants who raised $50,000 to fund the testing of 500 additions to the national Be The Match Marrow Registry. We had more teams than ever (80, many with hilarious names), five teams that raised more than $1,000 each, and a finish line overflowing with energy, enthusiasm and music from our own DJ. Is that cool or what?  As I look back on the event, three emotions come to mind:


The first emotion is heartfelt thanks for the many who made this possible. Thanks to Scott Leopold for starting the idea of the swim, and thanks to Madeline Froning, Kristina Minear and the crew at Puget Sound Blood Center for personally embracing this swim and connecting it with the resources that only PSBC can offer. Thank you to the volunteers who worked very late and very early to ensure that this event went smoothly. Thanks to Alan Schulkin, who worked behind the scenes to raise many thousands of dollars for the cause. Thanks to Pam Gray and Rochelle Alhadeff at Chat with Women Radio Show for discussing the swim with us, to Christie Johnson of King 5 News for actually jumping in the water with us and to the 357 participants who made this a year to remember, in spite of the weather.

Puget Sound Blood Center President Dr. Jim AuBuchon and Swim founder Scott Leopold

The second emotion is a renewed since of purpose thanks to the number 500. Who will those 500 new bone marrow registrants be now that their testing is paid? Whose lives will they save? After the college roommate of one of my team members was suddenly diagnosed with leukemia, bone marrow became more personally relevant than ever. I know who one registrant will be. I signed up two weeks ago, and all it took was swabbing my cheek and filling out a three-page form. The only painful part was filling out that form! Only 499 other prepaid slots left…

The third and final emotion is the excitement that comes from fine-tuning a well-running engine. The swim was this good this year because we did a post-mortem last year and tweaked it. We’ll be doing that again soon for next year, seeing if we can top even this year’s Swim for Life across Lake Washington. If you want to help make the swim even better, drop me a note and we’ll discuss it!

The Infamous Money Question

July 5, 2010 at 11:31 am

Fundraising isn’t for everyone…

Post by Bob Forgrave

I was sitting down at Starbucks having a great conversation with a fellow swimmer on my new Swim For Life team when we got to an awkward pause and he finally asked with a wince the question that had been bothering him for a while. “So…I know this is a fundraiser. Do I have to go ask my friends for money?”

It’s an important question, and for some folks, a tough one. This swim exists today because of what it has done so far—most recently helping to fund part of two bloodmobile purchases—and because of the difference it can make now and in the future. The more money you raise, the more potential lives you can save by linking donors and recipients, like Randy Yamanaka and Rosalie Jewett, who were matched by the bone marrow registry that this swim now supports. The Puget Sound Blood Center even has a letter and an online donation site to help get you started.

But even without that dedicated effort, the swim makes a difference, with each team’s registration fee covering the cost for 1.4 people to join the Be The Match registry. Personally, I found that number both comforting and a bit odd. One person and a 40% person? One 40% taller or wider person? In the interest of neatness, I felt compelled to fix this metric, so I committed to paying for our team in full, then just adding each swimmer’s individual reimbursement back into a larger total for our team. I told my team member that, and his relief turned to enthusiasm about possibly recruiting more team members from his master’s team—which, when you think about it, is another way of asking friends to contribute. Different strokes for different folks.

Meanwhile, I’m happy to report that my no-fundraising method of raising our contribution to a neat round number means that our team’s participation will cover the Be The Match registry costs of…2.45 bone marrow donors? Crud. That’s still not an even number! Looks like we may be doing some minor fundraising after all…

Puget Sound Blood Center needs 100 swim teams to raise $55,000 in funds for bone marrow donation registration on Aug. 18. Click here to register for Swim for Life. To learn more about forming your own team (four swimmers and a kayaker) or about swimming solo, visit:

A History of the Swim for Life, a.k.a. “Donor Party Crossing”

May 25, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Swim for Life, 2008

By Scott Leopold, Founder of Swim for Life Across Lake Washington.

On Aug. 18, 2010, there will be 400 swimmers, 100 kayakers and dozens of small power craft on Lake Washington raising $50,000 for bone marrow registration. Swim for Life has come a long way since I started it 13 years ago by swimming solo across Lake Washington.

My inspiration to start the Swim for Life came from a very good friend, Steve, who lost a son to leukemia at the age of three. Steve is one of my heroes: He’s on Puget Sound Blood Center’s Tree of Life, which means he has given 100 or more donations. I met Steve in 1996. In 1998 I decided to drum up a little excitement by encouraging the public to donate blood at Puget Sound Blood Center. That’s when I swam solo – guided only by my friend Pat in a very small kayak – from Medina beach to the UW Husky Stadium – almost four miles.

Pat Anderson, Lori Wolfe, Scott Leopold First Swim for Life, Sep. 19, 1998

After three years of this grueling event I decided to make it more attractive: It’s hard to get people excited about a four-mile swim, so I chose Madison Beach 2.5-miles to the northwest. It was important to me that Swim for Life (initially dubbed “The Donor Crossing”) to maintain an important bragging right: a complete open-water swim all the way across the lake, and I don’t mean across some skinny portion, like the north end of the lake; I wanted something that was really worth writing home about.

Bob Forgrave joined me in 1999. Things really started to gel in 2001 when a couple dozen swimmers signed on. Now it was more than just a bunch of us Microsofties. I rented canoes from the UW Waterfront Activities Center haul them over in a 15 foot moving van. Then in 2003 I towed a dozen canoes from the UW to Medina, swamping several of them in the process. By the time we hit the water in Medina I was already exhausted.

In 2004, I decided to turn Swim for Life into a fundraiser for Puget Sound Blood Center. Microsoft Employee Jason Lucas joined us (actually, his whole family did!) by swimming with us that year. He has been one of our leading boat safety captains ever since. We had about 66 swimmers and raised about $12,000. In 2005 we raised a bit more.

Swim for Life in August 2009 at Medina Beach

In 2007 Bob’s “team approach” to the Swim for Life won me over and it was a fantastic decision: We expected about 75 swimmers; 150 showed up! We ran out of t-shirts, schwag bags, even registration forms. What a great problem to have.

2007 was a milestone for the swim because Puget Sound Blood Center officially began a partnership with the Swim for Life, and because Karl Langlois, who heads Seattle Region 10 Patrol and Rescue, joined us. Karl is a special asset to the swim because his network has gained the support of dozens of spotter/patrol boats and several USCG auxiliary vessels. Karl made – out of his own pocket – over a hundred bright orange safety flags that each paddler will carry to quickly summon a nearby speedboat in case a swimmer needs attention.  Karl even writes an official NOTICE TO MARINERS, which warns boaters and seaplanes to steer clear of our event.  Last year, one of Karl’s USCG auxiliary officers waved off a seaplane that was coming in to land:  It was carrying a rather well-known software company executive.  Today, our “safety armada” of speedboats and USCG auxiliary vessels boasts trauma kits, defibrillators, and two paramedics.

Come Join Us!

One Hundred and Fifty swimmers raised $20,000 in 2007, 260 swimmers raised $25,000 in 2008, and 322 swimmers raised $29,000 last year. In 2007 we had a 12-year-old boy swim the entire 2.5 miles, and in 2008 his 10-year-old buddy joined us. It boggles my mind.

I believe in three things: Put your money where your mouth is, lead by example and be the change you want to see in the world. I urge you to contact your friends and save lives by forming a swim team for Aug. 18 (visit I’m living proof that one man really can change the world.

I wish Pat were here to see what he helped me build.

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