A Wedding Anniversary Donation: The Family that Donates together Stays together.

October 25, 2010 at 7:45 am

Patrick and Michelle are celebrating their marriage in a very generous way on Oct. 25, 2010.

Today is our 8th wedding anniversary and my husband and I decided to donate together.

Through the years, Patrick and I have been pretty faithful in donating blood. Over time, we’ve had to reschedule donation appointments and rarely have we ended up donating on the same day. There have been times he’s had a cold or I’ve not had enough iron to donate. Nevertheless, we continue to come back every 56 days or so. We have both been touched by the need for blood donations; his mother received five transfusions when she was in the hospital battling lymphoma and I received two after suffering a miscarriage. My mother was also the recipient of a blood transfusion shortly before she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Long before we met, my husband started giving blood on a whim when the blood mobile was at Boeing in the 1990s. After that he did it every so often, but not on a regular basis. I had given blood on a whim as well in the late 1990s at Bellevue College. I was walking to an anthropology class I wasn’t too thrilled with and needed a good reason to not go. Why not give blood?

After we met, we started donating on a more regular basis. We both have type O Positive and if we happen to let more than a few weeks go by, we get friendly calls asking for a donation. When we have the universal blood type, it’s hard not to think of those people who need our blood. After seeing that so many people can benefit from our donation, we’ve decided to make it on a much more regular basis now.

Last Tuesday, I was set to give blood, but came down with a terrible cold and cough. When I called to change the appointment, I decided we needed to start donating together and why not start with our anniversary on October 25th? We have been through a lot with illness in our family and those times when our loved ones have needed blood, someone out there had been kind and generous enough to give so that my family and others had another chance at life.

Young Professional Ambassadors…Are You One?

October 21, 2010 at 11:30 am

By Beth Newman

Who are they? Maybe you. Young Professional Ambassadors (YPA) is an opportunity to learn about all that Puget Sound Blood Center is working on, share your knowledge with the community and become experienced in working with nonprofits.

Your time, money and energy are available to be spent on causes that are important to you. It is not always clear what those causes are. I was wondering how to give back after an accident left me fighting for my life. There were so many people and organizations that all pulled together to ensure my survival. Puget Sound Blood Center was a large piece of saving my life as their blood products were what gave my body time to heal from the life-saving surgeries that were performed.

I started donating blood when I was in high school after my mom signed a permission slip. I remember thinking that it was a simple case of it being the right thing to do, and I did it without much thought. Later as a nurse, I knew the importance of blood donations as I gave blood products to my patients and watched their lives improve.

Personally, I know the gift of the Blood Center as I received 100 components of blood after an accident. I am looking forward to the 3-year anniversary of my accident in the upcoming weeks. I needed a way to give back all that had been given to me. I had already been back donating blood one year after my accident. I needed to do more.

I have been working in the Development Office of the main branch of Puget Sound Blood Center for the past couple of months. I have been given a chance to speak to blood donors and financial contributors. I thank them personally for their gifts to the Blood Center on behalf of all of the people who will be helped by their donation.

A situation like mine does not need to be the catalyst for donating your time. As you find out all that the Blood Center does for our community, you realize that you will be helping your family members, neighbors and community as a whole. Your time and effort may not be visible to you as a member of this new volunteer committee, but I can tell you first hand that the people you help are eternally grateful as well as are their friends and family.

This is the time for you to use your talents and energy to make an incredible impact for so many people. Another benefit to YPA members should be listed as: Forever be a hero to countless patients and families whose lives are forever changed, helped and restored by your gift of time, money and energy.

Young Professional Ambassadors…are you one?

Check out the Young Professional Ambassadors of the Blood Center and review the objectives for more information on the program. The application can be found at: http://www.psbc.org/news_archive/ypa_application.pdf

I Know What a Unit of Blood Looks like in a Life.

October 13, 2010 at 2:52 pm

By Elsa Finkbonner

You may not remember me, but a good portion of you will remember my son, Jake Finkbonner. At age five he was playing basketball when he was pushed from behind, flew forward, and hit his mouth on the base of the basketball hoop. His tooth pierced his lip and he was instantly infected with Strep A, also known as flesh-eating bacteria.

He was airlifted from PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham to Seattle Children’s Hospital. His condition was so critical the doctors were unsure as to what they were dealing with. Jake’s head had swollen to twice its normal size and his eyes were swollen shut. My son was unrecognizable. On Valentine’s Day, they took Jake into the operating room for his first surgery; more than 20 would follow in the next 18 days.

During his surgeries, Jake lost much blood. It is estimated that he received as many as 100 units of donated blood during his operations. I don’t know what a unit of blood looks like, but when I look into my son’s beautiful little eyes every day I know what a unit of blood looks like in a life.

So far, Jake has undergone 25 surgeries. He’s just 7 years old and his journey has just begun. At the time, I didn’t realize the importance of blood drives. Next time that you are donating blood, remember what your donation means to people like us. It means a gift of life.

It Is Amazing that Such a Simple (and Enjoyable) Thing Could Be so Life Changing!

October 8, 2010 at 10:37 am

Art Gunderson’s son, Nate Gunderson on the left, is enjoying life with his wife and daughter thanks to blood donors.

By Art Gunderson

I started routinely donating blood in Olympia in 1996 and have always been impressed by the friendly and professional staff and volunteers. I had never experienced or even known someone with a problem that required a transfusion of blood products, but knew how vitally important the blood supply is for many in our region.

Then on April 4th of 2009, my 31-year-old son Nate became seriously ill at his daughter’s 1st Birthday party at our home. At the hospital in Seattle, the doctors determined that Nate had contracted bacterial endocarditis and needed an urgent aortic heart valve replacement.

The disease progressed and a few weeks later he needed several units of blood and another emergency heart valve replacement. The day after his surgery he was transported to Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane where he was kept alive in the cardiac ICU for two months on the heart transplant list.

On July 5, 2009, Nate received a lifesaving heart transplant. This entire process required dozens of units of blood. Over the four months of his illness I found myself overwhelmed with gratitude for the hundred or so people who had donated blood to save my son’s life.

Today, six months after his heart transplant, Nate is healthy and sharing life with his wife and little daughter, and I am back donating and telling everyone I know to be a blood and organ donor. It is amazing that such a simple (and enjoyable) thing could be so life changing! I am a donor for life.

I Never Thought I’d be at the Receiving End of Blood Donation.

October 1, 2010 at 9:56 am

By Mark Warren

I am a dentist by profession and have practiced over 35 years. In November of 2002 I was really beginning to slow down. My energy was minimal and I had trouble maintaining my professional and personal life as I had before. I was also developing a persistent cough that was continually getting worse.

After many tests, I was diagnosed with a rapidly growing sarcoma. I immediately began intense chemotherapy sessions. My wife and I had been long time blood donors, but I now had my first experience receiving blood. During my three bouts of chemo, I became a frequent visitor to the Blood Center.

To further complicate things I developed a blood clot in my leg and was placed on Coumadin. Murphy’s Law took over my life. While receiving platelets at the Blood Center I fell and began internal bleeding. I was transferred to the ER where I received 17 units of blood. Thanks to the donors, an abundant supply of blood was available.

I had tremendous primary care, a gifted surgeon and wonderful support by caring people in the community. I wouldn’t be here today without the 90 units of blood and platelets that I received.

Recently, our church hosted its first blood drive. We are so thankful to all of my blood donors and wanted to repay their generosity in any way we could. I told my wife that if she would give two units a week, we could be even in less than a year. She preferred the blood drive.

Schedule your own blood donation at a donor center

Switch to our mobile site