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Bloodmobile collects for Sandy victims

Erin Espedal, a phlebotomist with the Puget Sound Blood Center’s Bloodmobile, is all smiles while drawing a patient’s blood at the Smokey Point Cycle Barn on Oct. 31. - Kirk Boxleitner
Erin Espedal, a phlebotomist with the Puget Sound Blood Center’s Bloodmobile, is all smiles while drawing a patient’s blood at the Smokey Point Cycle Barn on Oct. 31.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

SMOKEY POINT — Short notice, a steady drizzle and some technical difficulties stalled out the Puget Sound Blood Center’s blood collection goals for its Bloodmobile’s visit to the Smokey Point Cycle Barn on Wednesday, Oct. 31, but Blood Center staff will continue to collect to help support those impacted by Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast.

Adam Osborne, blood collection services supervisor for the Bloodmobile, explained that they began collecting blood at 12:30 p.m., more than two hours late, due to their generator dying. By 2:30 p.m., they’d received seven donors, whose contributions the Bloodmobile staff appreciated, but Osborne acknowledged that this made their previous goal of drawing blood from 36 donors at the Cycle Barn that day unrealistic.

“There was just no way with the time we had left,” said Osborne, whose team stayed on site until 4 p.m., as previously planned.

The Bloodmobile staff were nonetheless pleased to be working with the Cycle Barn again after a long intermission, since this was their first visit to the Cycle Barn’s current location.

“The last time we had the Bloodmobile was years ago, back at our old building,” said Gregg Anderson, general manager of the Smokey Point Cycle Barn. “I got the idea a couple of months ago for a Halloween blood drive, so why not? I’ve never had to use their services myself, but it’s necessary for us to take care of each other.”

Although Anderson’s plans for a blood drive at the end of October were hatched well in advance of Hurricane Sandy, Osborne agreed with him about the importance of donating blood even when emergencies aren’t occurring, since each pint of donated whole blood can save three lives, by being broken up into platelets, plasma and red blood cells.

“New York City and New Jersey are down on their blood supplies, so we’re shipping blood out to assist them,” said Gayle Richards, donor resources representative for the Puget Sound Blood Center. “The way things are going, we may be doing that for a while. We’ll always supply our local blood needs first, but we’ll continue to supplement them for as long as they need, until they can get back to normal.”

Richards explained that the Puget Sound Blood Center already serves more than 70 hospitals and clinics in Western Washington with more than 900 pints of blood a day.

“Our donations are generally down during the holiday season,” Richards said. “People tend to be busy or out of town from now through the New Year, but our need remains.”

To that end, Richards announced that the semi-annual Carbajal family blood drive would be returning to Arlington, this time in the Arlington City Council Chambers on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“In this day and age, especially with this tough economy, helping each other out needs to happen,” Anderson said.

Those in Arlington or Marysville who wish to contact Richards to set up a Bloodmobile appointment at their locations may call 425-740-2911 or 888-475-4022, or email gayler@psbc.org.

 

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