It’s in our blood to save lives

Blood­works North­west

The Daily Herald - - OPIN­ION -

In the hours and days af­ter a tragedy or dis­as­ter, it’s heart­en­ing to see peo­ple lin­ing up to give blood, as was the case af­ter the night­club shoot­ing last month in Or­lando, Florida. Added to words of sup­port, sym­pa­thy and prayers, blood do­na­tions pro­vide a tan­gi­ble ben­e­fit, if not to an im­me­di­ate vic­tim, then to some­one else in the com­mu­nity who is in need of life-sav­ing blood.

Ob­vi­ously, the need for a sup­ply of blood and the other life-sav­ing com­po­nents that are pro­vided by do­na­tions is great­est be­fore a dis­as­ter or other tragic event. Since we can’t pre­dict when blood will be needed most, the best way to en­sure an am­ple sup­ply is for those who are el­i­gi­ble and able to give blood to do so as of­ten as they can.

For those in Washington and Ore­gon, Blood­works North­west, for­merly the Puget Sound Blood Cen­ter, pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties to do­nate at drives and blood cen­ters. Blood­works has two donor cen­ters in Sno­homish County: At 2703 Oakes, in down­town Everett; and at 19723 High­way 99, Suite F, in Lyn­nwood.

Last year more than 107,000 donors were reg­is­tered at area blood drives or at the Everett cen­ter, which this spring marked its 25th year. Among the top donor groups are Boe­ing em­ploy­ees, Everett Com­mu­nity Col­lege, Everett city em­ploy­ees, Sno­homish County em­ploy­ees and stu­dents, fac­ulty and staff at schools in the Everett School District.

Stu­dents, both in high school and col­lege, are among the most reg­u­lar donors, as are those in their 40s to 60s, said Dr. James Au-Bu­chon, pres­i­dent and CEO of Blood­works North­west. The chal­lenge, he said, has been in en­cour­ag­ing do­na­tions among young adults, 20 to 40.

It’s not that they are any less gen­er­ous, Au-Bu­chon said, but the de­mands of jobs and fam­ily can com­pli­cate mak­ing the time to give blood.

To make it eas­ier for peo­ple to do­nate, Blood­works is look­ing for more op­por­tu­ni­ties for mo­bile blood drives in the com­mu­nity.

And re­cent ad­vances in re­search and test­ing are show­ing prom­ise in ex­pand­ing the pool of donors.

The U.S. Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion re­cently changed its pol­icy ban­ning do­na­tions from gay men, adopted in the 1980s in re­sponse to the HIV/AIDS epi­demic. The FDA now al­lows do­na­tions from gay men who have not had sex­ual con­tact with an­other man in the past 12 months. Blood­works, Au-Bu­chon said, is in the process of chang­ing its donor ques­tion­naire and pro­ce­dures to re­flect this change.

The not-for-profit Blood­works, along with col­lect­ing and dis­tribut­ing red blood cells, platelets and plasma to 90 hos­pi­tals and med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties in Washington, Ore­gon and Alaska, also is a leader in re­search.

Blood­works is un­der­tak­ing the study of: ■ Tests for viruses and bac­te­ria that can make trans­fu­sions even safer for pa­tients; ■ Meth­ods for ex­tend­ing the “shelf-life” of blood, which is 42 days for red cells but only five days for platelets; ■ Treat­ment and cures for blood dis­or­ders, such as he­mophilia, which pre­vents blood from clot­ting, and throm­bo­sis, which re­sults in un­wanted clot­ting; and ■ Ways of iden­ti­fy­ing mark­ers in blood that might iden­tify in­di­vid­u­als whose blood can be kept longer or might be a bet­ter match for par­tic­u­lar pa­tients.

Blood­works also of­fers pro­grams that reg­is­ter bone mar­row donors and en­cour­ages and man­ages the do­na­tion of um­bil­i­cal-cord blood, the stems cell from which are cru­cial in treat­ing leukemia, myeloma and other can­cers and im­mune dis­or­ders.

As well, Blood­works’ lab­o­ra­to­ries test do­nated or­gans for in­fec­tious diseases prior to im­plan­ta­tion for five North­west states.

For those who for rea­sons of health or sched­ule are un­able to give blood, we would en­cour­age your fi­nan­cial sup­port for the im­por­tant work that Blood­works North­west per­forms.

In ad­di­tion to its usual hours, Blood­works North­west will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon­day, July 4, for those who want to do­nate that day.

With the Fourth of July hol­i­day just a few days away, we can’t think of a bet­ter time for red-blooded Amer­i­cans to ei­ther do­nate for the first time or re­turn to give again.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.