Central’s Annual Blood Drive Exceeds Expectations

The Indiana Blood Center's Blood Mobile at Central's April 1 Drive

*Note: See bottom for 4/7 update from the Indiana Blood Center

Every two seconds, someone needs blood.  One pint of blood can save up to three lives.  4.5 million Americans will need a blood transfusion every year.  These are alarming statistics from the America’s Blood Centers’ website. And while people give every day, more is always needed.

Each year for the past five years Central has held an on-site blood drive with the Indiana Blood Center (IBC) enabling employees to help fill this need.  This year’s blood drive was Friday April 1.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., employees trickled into the blood mobile in our dock area to make their donation.  Each donation is one pint of blood and IBC said 550 donations are needed each day to meet their goal.  This year we exceeded our expectations.

“Our original goal was 19,” said Jim Lawyer, procurement manager and co-manager of this year’s blood drive said.  (Doug Meyer, vice president of marketing, being the other co-manager) “We had appointment slots for 28…we ended up with 32 appointments and 30 of those showed up to donate.”

All in all, of the 30 employees, 28 were able to give.

“I’d say that’s quite an improvement over goal and previous years,” Lawyer added.

This year’s drive was special because in efforts to increase blood supply around Indiana, IBC teamed up with the Indiana Pacers and each person who donated received a ticket to the April 8 game against the Atlanta Hawks.

Central added to that by purchasing additional tickets for employees who donated enabling their family or friends to attend. But tickets aren’t the reason why many of Central’s employees donated.

Product Consultant Rick Arenstein has been a long time blood donor.

“I have been giving blood since 1970,” he said.  Including the April 1 drive, Arenstein has given a total of 14 gallons of blood.

Some are able to make a donation because the drive is at their place of employment, as they wouldn’t otherwise have the time.

Sarah McElfresh, IT Support Analyst, has donated blood three times, two of those times being through Central.

“I like that Central is willing to host the blood drive, as I have a very busy life outside of work, and would not be as likely to make time to donate,” she said.

Another perk for everyone who donates is the ability to have a mini-physical.  For those donating through IBC, which is similar all across the country, donors have their temperature, pulse and blood pressure checked.

“Be proud,” IBC said on their website. “Donating at the Indiana Blood Center means that you’ll have someone’s undying gratitude.”

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April 7 Update

As an update to this story, Field Representative Lindsey Berry of the Indiana Blood Center contacted us about Central’s blood drive and what it takes to host one.

“If there are individuals interested in hosting blood drives at their locations in other states, I suggest they look up their local blood bank in their city/state,” she said. “That way, when they donate they know the blood will go right back to the community they are in.”

Berry also commented IBC depends on their drives with the mobile vehicle as it makes up 85 percent of drives around the state.  They have dozens of mobile drives each day that collect under 20 units of blood. (Remember 550 is their daily need.)

“So, when a place like Central hosts a drive and has over 30 people interested in donating, it can be a huge help.  One donation saves up to three lives, so the 28 successful donations at Central on April 1 will touch over 80 Hoosier patients,” Berry said. “That is the nice thing about donating blood–you always know your donation will go to good use.”

Berry wrapped up by telling us 80 percent of the population will need a blood product at some point in their life such as a car accident, major surgery or a developed illness.  The most recent statistic she heard was 60 percent of Americans are eligible to donate, but only five percent do on a regular basis.

“That is a small amount of donors making up for hundreds of thousands of patients!”

For planning a drive, Berry said it’s simple. Here is a list of how the planning process works for hosting a blood drive at IBC and might be similar for locations across the country:

  • Must be contacted one month in advance to reserve resources
  • Coordinators responsibility is to fill up the sign up sheet (IBC bases the size of the sign up sheet based off employees at the company and other factors)
  • IBC works with coordinators  through every step and provide them with the tools to make the drive successful

Have you thought about hosting a blood drive at your own place of employment? Or have you? Let us know. Make a search today for your state’s blood center and learn about ways to give and possibly hosting a drive at your facility.

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