Mark makes 100th whole blood donation at 48

September 23, 2013 at 11:20 am
Mark Lally

Mark and his many pins

Mark Lally is a regular blood donor at the Puget Sound Blood Center in Olympia. Last month, he donated his 100th pint of whole blood.

This is an extraordinary achievement for anyone, but what makes Mark’s accomplishment even more impressive is that he is just 48 years old. Usually donors who achieve this milestone are at least 10 to 20 years older. 92% of people don’t give blood at all, and those who do, give infrequently.

Mark says,

My first blood donations were during college blood drives at Gonzaga. I continued to donate through college and law school, but when I came back to the Northwest in 1990, is when I started donating regularly at the Puget Sound Blood Center. My initial donations were up at the PSBC in Bellevue, but once I moved down [to Olympia], I either went to the Olympia Center (on Eastside Street) or at the Legislative Building on the Capitol Campus when they had a mobile drive.

So it has taken me about twenty-three years to get to one hundred units at the PSBC with an average of 4 or 5 per year.

There are hundreds of patients in our community who rely on the generosity of strangers to provide the blood that they need to live. You can be part of someone’s miracle.

You’ll never know whose life you saved, but you will know that you saved a life.

Back to school tips for high school blood donors

September 16, 2013 at 8:55 am
Krti and Becca recruit donors in Vancouver

Becca and Krti recruit donors in Vancouver

It’s back to school season, and here at PSBC this means gearing up for high school blood drives.

Last year, 20,913 high school students registered to donate blood at 344 blood drives in schools across Western Washington. As the single largest donor group, high school students contribute 16% of our region’s blood supply.

Students who are 16 or 17 years old may donate with a permission slip signed by a parent or guardian. Like all donors, they must weigh at least 110 pounds and meet the other eligibility criteria.

We strive to make our high school blood drives a positive experience thereby inspiring students to become lifelong blood donors. In order to have the best possible experience, we tell students to prepare by:

  • getting a good night’s rest
  • drinking plenty of fluids
  • having a hearty breakfast on the morning of the drive.

It’s just like preparing for a big test, but without all the studying!

Elma HS students gear up for a drive

Elma HS students gear up for a drive

We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the creative and hard-working students and administrators who are an absolutely essential part of making these drives a success. From making sure the gym is unlocked on the day of the drive, to spending their lunch hours asking their friends to donate, to developing brilliant social media marketing campaigns, we sincerely appreciate the spirit and leadership of all involved.

If you are interested in hosting a blood drive at your school, contact your area’s donor group recruitment coordinator or visit the blood drives page on for more information.


September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month

September 9, 2013 at 12:45 pm

September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month, and we’ve put together an infographic with a few facts about this genetic disease that affects 70,000 to 80,000 Americans.


Puget Sound Blood Center helps sickle cell patients by providing needed blood transfusions — these transfusions reduce the number of abnormal cells in a patient’s bloodstream, making them feel better and preventing certain complications.

Your blood donations improve the lives of patients like Kendra.

Kendra Hogenson blog

Kendra was in and out of the hospital because of her sickle cell disease, suffering three bouts of meningitis, a stroke, and a lot of pain before the age of 13.

Her life changed after receiving her fist blood transfusion. Today, more than two decades and many transfusions later, thousands of blood donors have given Kendra health and hope.

Schedule a blood donation today!

Blood Center Volunteer Courier program

September 2, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Photo by Chad Emerson

One of the coolest things about the Blood Center is the awesome people we have volunteering here! Naomi is a prime example.

By day, she’s an HR Director in the Hotel Industry. By night? Oh, you might find her studying quantum mechanics for fun, reading sci fi (Dune is one of her favorite books, but Frank Herbert is not her favorite author – you know how that goes) or… driving blood products around for Puget Sound Blood Center!

We have about 50 people who give the gift of time in this way. Our volunteer couriers provide an important service: transporting blood products and supplies between the downtown Seattle Center and our satellite labs in the U District and Bellevue for testing.

Three shifts a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year (because patients in hospitals are always in need, even on the holidays). They work behind the scenes and the time they give is crucial to our mission.

Kyle McDonald, who oversees PSBC’s courier program, says,

Volunteers are essential because they augment what we can do at the Blood Center.

How? Well, though we tend to think that what comes out of our veins during donation gets transfused into a patient in the same state, whole blood is actually divided into three separate components: red cells, platelets, and plasma — this is why we say that “one donation saves three lives.” After blood leaves the body, we have just 5 hours to separate these components, and without our volunteers, we often wouldn’t be able to meet this critical deadline.

If we host a drive in, say, the San Juan Islands, a volunteer courier will pick up the blood and take it to the airport, where it is flown to Seattle by volunteer pilots, then picked up by another courier and driven to our testing centers for processing.

It’s a big group effort: volunteer couriers work hand-in-hand with our blood collection services to make sure that blood gets where it needs to be.

Says Naomi,

I could spend the time sitting at home playing video games, but that wouldn’t be helping my community. I like to stay busy, and ultimately I’m helping people.

Yep, she is. And we’re grateful.

For more info on becoming a volunteer courier, email Jen at

Did Someone in this Room Save My Life?

February 17, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Click to Watch a Video of Monique’s Story.

“I cannot walk into a grocery store or a large room without wondering if I’m alive because someone there gave me their blood.”

Literally in the blink of an eye, her life changed. It happened on a drizzly night as she drove in Olympia in January 2002. In seconds, Monique Dugaw went from an athletic and pretty 17-year-old with a bright future to a highway statistic with a broken body and a face her mother could barely recognize. Dugaw’s car had crossed U.S. 101 and smashed into a tree minutes after she left a friend’s house for her parents’ home nearby. She was tired from a long day of skiing, closing her eyes for just a moment.

Rescue workers thought she was dead. Her pelvis, tailbone, ankle and middle finger had been broken. Her right elbow had been dislocated and shattered, a lung puncture and internal organs damaged. She also suffered head trauma, bleeding in the brain and multiple facial lacerations. “I lost more than half of my blood from the injuries,” she says.

Once at Providence St. Peter Hospital, blood transfusions began and her condition stabilized. “That saved me,” she says. “I wouldn’t be here today if people hadn’t donated to Puget Sound Blood Center, because the Blood Center supplies the hospital.”

Monique enjoys sharing her story, and continues to champion the work of the Blood Center to this day. “I’ve finally gotten my life back together,” she says. “And Puget Sound Blood Center has helped me do it. Not just from the nearly six units of blood I received – but emotionally.

“Being able to share my story has allowed me to continue recovering.”

Schedule your own blood donation at a donor center.

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