Bloodworks Beyond Borders: Like Water, So Is Blood

July 13, 2018 at 7:52 am

This month, join Bloodworks Global Health Ambassador Susan Peck on an eye-opening journey through East Africa with the Bloodworks Center for Global Impact. Susan is a dedicated blood donor and a former Bloodworks Board of Trustees member—read her first and second travel logs. 

By: Susan Peck

“Water is life, we live because of it. Like water, so is blood…”
-Tanzanian Taxi Driver

Bloodworks and Moi University colleagues with Bungoma County health leaders. 

We had plenty of rain while in Tanzania and Kenya. According to the local game lodge, there was more rain in June than has ever been recorded in a single month.  As a result, there’s a lush quality to this land. The people here are resourceful and at times ingenious as they put everything they have to good use, making life viable and sustainable. Blood is life, and access to safe blood is absolutely vital to survival in the towns and settlements we visited.

The need is palpable and makes it clear that Bloodpak – a portable emergency blood transfusion method developed by Bloodworks that enables arm-to arm blood transfusions – can be a game-changer for these communities. This is why we’re here. As the team introduced Bloodpak throughout Kenya at the national, regional, and organization levels, the many advantages of implementing this option became starkly evident to me.

Mothers should not be dying while giving life, just as doctors should not ever find themselves watching a patient bleed out because of a lack of safe blood… yet it happens here all too frequently. Some doctors we spoke with have even made the extreme last-ditch decision to transfuse their own blood in the hope of saving a life in an emergency situation. The tragic irony of this selfless act is that there are safe blood sources within reach if you just have the right tools.

Learning from the experts at Regional Blood Transfusion Service in Eldoret.

With Bloodpak, Bloodworks is on the verge of making safe, reliable, relatively inexpensive arm-to-arm blood transfusion a reality. Governmental leadership, doctors, nurses and blood specialists are pleading and ready for this help. The Bloodworks team is energized and hopeful in its efforts to lay the preliminary groundwork for a protocol that can hopefully lead to establishing Bloodpak programs where the needs are greatest.

Arm-to-arm transfusions can and will save lives in these remote locales and in extreme circumstances. The portable Automated Electronic Defibrillator (AED) has saved countless lives over the past 40 years in cardiac arrest emergencies – an excellent metaphor for the portable, reliable, ingenuity of the Bloodpak technology.

I was forever changed by the passion and resourcefulness of the people I met in Tanzania and Kenya. From the professor and noted doctor of Moi University who accompanied us, to the proud director of the blood satellite in Eldoret, the first lady of Bungoma and many souls in between, our trip was both fruitful and profound.  By the stories we heard throughout our journey, there is no denying that the Bloodpak duffel, filled with the right tools, can save thousands of lives.

This is my personal invitation for you to be a part of this. You can help save lives across the globe by giving financial gift to help make Bloodpak a real solution in these communities. Will you join us on this mission?

Bloodworks Fourth of July Hours & Blood Drives

July 2, 2018 at 3:39 pm

Sparklers, sweet treats…and a chance to save lives. The Fourth of July marks our nation’s independence and an especially important time to give blood. That’s because with many donors away on vacation and more people out on the roads, the local blood supply doesn’t always meet demand.

Here are a few simple ways you can help (and still catch your BBQ and favorite parade):

Give Blood at Your Local Donor Center
All of our centers from Bellingham, WA to Eugene, OR are open July 4 from 8:00 am – 4:00 pmSchedule an appointment online, or just walk in. A whole blood donation takes around an hour, so you’ll be in and out with plenty of time to get to your next event.

Support a Fourth of July Blood Drive Near You
Our donor centers are open on July 4, and so are several of our bloodmobiles! Check out the listings below to find the best location and time for you.

  • Eugene, OR
    Pro Rodeo – Oregon Horse Center
    5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
    Sign Up
  • Portland, OR
    Legacy Emanuel Medical Center
    8:00 am – 2:00 pm
    Sign Up
  • Seattle, WA
    Woodland Park Zoo
    9:30 am – 3:30 pm
    Sign Up
  • West Seattle, WA
    Alaska & 42nd Street
    8:30 am – 2:30 pm
    Sign Up
  • Federal Way, WA
    Celebration Park Bloodmobile
    1:00 pm – 7:00 pm
    Sign Up
  • Tumwater, WA
    Thunderbird Real Estate
    8:00 am – 2:00 pm
    Sign Up
  • Sedro Woolley, WA
    Food Pavilion
    9:00 am – 3:00 pm
    Sign Up

Won’t be able to make it in on the 4th? No problem. By scheduling a donation any time this week, you’ll help ensure blood is available when local friends, family and neighbors need it most. Thank you!

Bloodworks Beyond Borders: Here to Save a Life

June 29, 2018 at 9:59 am

This month, join Bloodworks Global Health Ambassador Susan Peck on an eye-opening journey through East Africa with the Bloodworks Center for Global Impact. Susan is a dedicated blood donor and a former Bloodworks Board of Trustees member—read her first travel log here.

By: Susan Peck

Susan pictured after her 105th blood donation in Kenya.

I gave my 105th unit of blood today!

This one was especially memorable as it was in Eldoret, Kenya, rather than in my home of Seattle. As different as this facility and experience was, I couldn’t help but note how (much like Bloodworks) this blood collection site takes great pride in its safety protocols, collection procedures, and ability to distribute this life-saving product to people who need it.

I actually came to this particular site today with the Center for Global Impact to discuss Bloodpak — a method of emergency transfusion developed by Bloodworks. We came to get feedback from local experts who already work to provide safe and accessible blood for their communities, and explore how something like Bloodpak could help that system access the harder-to-reach places. The goal: No one, anywhere, dying from lack of blood.

Susan pictured with members of the Bloodworks Center for Global Impact and local Kenyan blood transfusion experts.

It was so interesting to participate on the preliminary level and make sense of how you dance with infrastructure and cultures that are not your own in order to reach a common goal.  Everyone surrounding the table today had a stake in the efficacy, safety and accessibility of blood: the doctors, researchers, quality personnel, and blood donors.

After this meaningful and informative discussion, we were fortunate to donate blood through this local blood bank. I asked the gentleman next to me why he was giving blood.

“To save a life.”

Amen brother, that’s what we’re here to do to.

The Bloodworks Center for Global Impact is dedicated to developing and implementing healthcare delivery innovations in under-served regions around the world. Learn more and support the Center’s lifesaving work by making a donation today

Saving Lives Just Like Clockwork

June 27, 2018 at 11:05 am

Clean, quiet and focused. That’s how Jim Kurdy describes his job as a watchmaker at Ben Bridge Jeweler in Seattle. “It fits in my ‘trying to get stuff fixed’ mentality,” he said. “I hate throwing things away.”

Perhaps driven by that same “repair it” mentality, Jim recently marked his 100th blood donation with Bloodworks Northwest. He dedicated his milestone achievement to Herb Bridge – co-chairman of Ben Bridge Jeweler, civic leader, fellow veteran and friend – who passed away on April 2 at age 93. “He was a real icon,” Jim said. “He really tried to make an impact on the community in a positive way and he supported company blood drives totally.”

Jim Kurdy completed his 100th Bloodworks donation at the Seattle Central Donor Center.

At a young age, Jim witnessed the significance of an active blood donor community. When he was just 12 years old, his father passed away during open heart surgery—but not before receiving multiple blood transfusions.

Jim’s first donation wasn’t until years later, far from home and family. At the time, he was a U.S. Navy recruit stationed in the Philippines, where a natural disaster gridlocked the local blood facility. “I thought, ‘Hey, if you can do this, you should do it,” Jim said. “I felt like I was honoring my father’s memory.”

The habit stuck. After his military service, Jim continued to give blood as a student at North Seattle College, a watch repair apprentice in Idaho, and as a Ben Bridge employee back in Seattle. Through his now 22 years with Ben Bridge, Jim grew from blood donor to avid blood donation advocate, organizing and promoting blood donations at the corporate office.

“I liked the information aspect—you can learn who can give, why you give,” he said. “Part of giving whole blood is the chance to help three people with the different components they separate the blood into.”

Jim has a few other persuasive numbers up his sleeve for prospective blood donors. “Look at how much blood is needed, especially in your local community on a daily basis,” he said. “There’s 800 units needed per day. It blew me away, it seemed like an unattainable amount, but so far, Bloodworks is actually able to fulfill most of it on a timely basis.”

Inspired by his father’s memory and Herb Bridge’s charitable legacy, Jim is making his own mark in the community, drop by drop. As for his next milestone, he expects to be back in the donor chair soon—just like clockwork.

Bloodworks Beyond Borders: My Best-Kept Secret

June 12, 2018 at 1:07 pm

This month, join Bloodworks Global Health Ambassador Susan Peck on an eye-opening journey through East Africa with the Bloodworks Center for Global Impact. Susan is a dedicated blood donor and a former Bloodworks Board of Trustees member—this is her first travel log.

By: Susan Peck

Bloodworks Global Health Ambassador Susan Peck with her dog, Mojo.

“Best-kept secrets” aren’t always a good thing, especially when you have something to crow about. For example, Bloodworks Northwest is known as the community blood center throughout Western Washington and Oregon. But what many people might not know about—my best-kept secret—is the organization’s work to bring about change in the global medical landscape.

This month the Bloodworks Center for Global Impact is returning to the African continent, where our team is working to make blood more accessible to people in remote locations. This is especially critical for women in these areas who die in huge numbers during or after giving birth.

I had no idea that so many mothers died during the birthing process—and I was shocked to learn that even here in the United States, more women are dying from pregnancy-related complications than in any other developed country. The motto that resonated with me is “no woman should die giving life.”

Susan, pictured with other members of the Bloodworks Board of Trustees.

So I’m going to Africa to see Bloodworks’ efforts to help mothers and other patients—and to share those stories with you. I’ll attend the African Society for Blood Transfusion Congress in Tanzania to learn about maternal health and blood availability across the continent, then travel to Eldoret, Kenya where I’ll observe Bloodworks innovations in action.

“Why me?” I have asked myself. I am not a doctor, researcher or diplomat—I’m your common Jane. A bit about me: I was a member of the Bloodworks Board of Trustees during the mid-nineties when I was the only woman among businessmen, doctors and attorneys—all a good 20 years older than I. (Since then, more women have joined the board, which is now led by Holli Harris, a remarkable woman in her own right!) I was a stay-at-home mother of two elementary children. I give blood because I see this as a service I can physically provide my brothers and sisters.

Susan with her husband, Bowen, daughter, Annalee and Mojo.

Why me? Well, why not me? Bloodworks is altering the medical landscape in stride with Fred Hutchinson, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Northwest Kidney Centers and many other healthcare giants. To be at the forefront during these progressive times is and has been a treat. To consume with my own eyes and experience the progression of lifesaving research makes me feel a part of it. Sharing with you what I see on the African continent, how I interact with its people and the knowledge I will gain at the transfusion congress will enrich my life. Being a part of the Bloodworks team is an honor and I am so excited to be a reporter and Global Health Ambassador.

The Bloodworks Center for Global Impact is dedicated to developing and implementing healthcare delivery innovations in underserved regions around the world. Learn more and support the Center’s lifesaving work by making a donation today

Switch to our mobile site