THE TOUR DE HERO EVENT HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED.
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Jackie Galbraith of Peoria won a 2014 Passat S donated by the Valley Volkswagen dealers in the United Blood Services “Drive Away a Hero” campaign. Her name was drawn from among the 43,828 donors who gave blood June 1 – August 31 and were automatically entered to win during the summer crusade to increase blood donations. Ten donors were drawn as finalists and unveiled throughout the summer on AZ-TV, media partner for the campaign. The finalists gathered Sept. 19 for the Grand Prize Ceremony at United Blood Services headquarters. Each finalist selected a case with a key during a Deal or No Deal game show event. Galbraith was the lucky finalist who chose case #4, the one that contained the key that started the engine of the winning Volkswagen in United Blood Services parking lot. She drove away the proud winner and a hero to Arizona hospital patients!
A 17-time donor, Galbraith garnered her spot in the grand prize ceremony when she gave blood Aug. 19 at United Blood Services’ Glendale Donor Center. She was touched when she learned the blood she donated that day went to help save an 83-year-old woman with post-hemorrhage anemia after a hip replacement surgery in a Scottsdale hospital. Galbraith first donated when she saw a blood drive at a mall, and began donating every three months after retiring as the business manager from DeVry University last year. “I’m amazed that more people don’t donate blood,” said Galbraith. “It’s really easy and I’m glad to do it.”
At the grand prize ceremony, Galbraith was especially moved by Mia, when she shared her story about how 114 blood donors have become her heroes. Mia was born with Diamond Blackfan Anemia, a rare disorder that prevents her body from producing red blood cells. She requires blood transfusions every month at Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa – a need that is expected to continue the rest of her life. Thanks to blood donors, Mia turned 12 years old on Sept. 19, the same day as the grand prize ceremony.
“The seven Valley Volkswagen Dealers and Volkswagen of America genuinely believe in giving back to the communities in which we live and do business,” said Lunde’s Peoria Volkswagen owner Dennis Lunde on behalf of the dealerships. “What better way to support United Blood Services in their efforts than to make sure there is an adequate blood supply for those in need.”
“United Blood Services was honored to have the opportunity to partner with Valley Volkswagen dealers in a three-month campaign that encouraged so many donors to give blood, especially during the summer,” said Sid Lewis, Regional Donor Recruitment Director for United Blood Services/Arizona. “It was most rewarding to see such a dedicated blood donor drive away as United Blood Services honored hero!”
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Platelet donors are true heroes to people like 5-year-old Zoiey. In June 2013, Zoiey was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, the most common form of childhood leukemia. Her blood counts were so low that she received a platelet transfusion while she was being flown from Yuma to Phoenix to begin her treatments at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. So far, she has received 5 platelet and 6 red blood cell transfusions and receives more when her counts are low. Her treatments are expected to continue for another year.
To ensure that patients like Zoiey have the platelet transfusions they need, United Blood Services annually offers a program to encourage people to give platelets during the holidays. Called All-Stars 4 Life, donors who give platelets between October 1 and January 31 are invited to take part. Following each platelet donation, the donor will receive a small “thank you” item to remind them of the people who receive their gift of life. Those who give 4 times during the 4-month program will be entered to win courtside tickets to a Phoenix Suns game, courtesy of the Phoenix Suns
Platelets are the component in whole blood that helps control bleeding. Using a special donation process called apheresis, blood centers can collect enough platelets for one or more transfusions from a single donor. During a platelet donation, whole blood is collected into a machine that separates the platelets then returns the red cells and other components to the donor. Donors can give platelets as often as every three days, up to 24 times a year. Each donation takes about two hours to complete.
The need for platelets is constant. Every day, hundreds of patients across Arizona require platelet transfusions to support them through treatments for cancer, burns, traumatic injuries and other life-threatening conditions. Platelets are also used in large quantities, and over extended periods of time, by leukemia, cancer and bone marrow transplant patients. Platelets also are used following surgery to help stop bleeding. With a shelf life of only 5 days, platelets are a very precious component of blood.
To make an appointment to give platelets, call 1-877-UBS HERO (827-4376).
This article originally appeared in the July issue of the Valley of the Sun edition of Healthy Cells Magazine. “I wonder whose blood this is . . .” pondered 11-year-old Mia McPoland as she received her 110th blood transfusion on May 29, at Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa. Mia put the unit of blood against her cheek, her way of giving the donor a hug to thank them for giving her a chance to grow up. As she examined the second unit of blood needed to complete her transfusion, she proclaimed “it’s (type) A like me.” Mia understands the different types of blood. In fact, there have been times that her type wasn’t available and they had to substitute type O, the universal blood. Worse yet, once she was turned away until compatible blood could be located.
Mia was born with a rare disorder called Diamond Blackfan Anemia, so her body cannot produce red blood cells. Since Mia was 6 weeks old, she has relied on the kindness of strangers to provide blood for lifesaving transfusions every month – a need that is expected to continue the rest of her life. “Hope is the best medicine,” Mia said. “Blood donors have given me a chance to do the things I love most, like playing with my friends and dancing to Taylor Swift songs.” There have been a few scary moments along her journey. When she was about two years old, her mom, Kristi, took Mia to the hospital for her regular transfusion, but there was not a match available for her blood type. The staff sent them away for about five hours until they could locate blood for Mia.
Cardon Children’s Medical Center is one of the 58 hospitals depending upon United Blood Services, Arizona’s largest non-profit community blood provider. Every day, United Blood Services works to attract about 500 blood donors to meet patient transfusion needs across the state. When summer arrives, maintaining Arizona’s blood supply becomes even more challenging. Vacations prevent many organizations from holding blood drives this time of year – the source of more than half of Arizona’s blood supply. The biggest impact is felt when students recess for the summer and take a break from hosting blood drives, as teens provide one out of every seven red blood donations given in Arizona during the school year. The most needed blood component, Arizona patients required 167,000 red blood transfusions last year. Who is eligible to donate blood? United Blood Services has set qualifications for donating blood within the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established guidelines. In addition to protecting the safety and potency of each blood transfusion, donor qualifications help ensure that it is safe for each donor to give blood. Additional donor eligibility information can be found online at.UnitedBloodServicesAZ.org (Learn More/The Donor Experience) or by calling United Blood Services at 1-877-UBS-HERO (827-4376). The basic minimum donor qualifications include:
According to United Blood Services, the need for blood donors has escalated since the beginning of summer, especially for type O-negative, the universal blood type required primarily by emergency and trauma patients. “In emergency situations when there is no time to determine a patient’s blood type, doctors depend on O-negative blood to sustain life until the patient can be stabilized,” emphasized Audrey Jennings, United Blood Services’ Regional Executive Director. “An ample supply gives transfusion options when shortages of other blood types arise.” Doctors also routinely rely on O-negative blood when premature babies and infants under 6 months old require lifesaving transfusions. In the past 11 years, Mia has accompanied her mom to dozens of blood drives to remind donors that their generous gift of life saves someone just like her. “Words cannot express my thankfulness to blood donors,” said her mom, Kristi McPoland. “If I could, I would hug each one to let them know how much they mean to my daughter and to our family.”
Donate blood and Find the Hero in You. To make an appointment,
call 1-877-UBS-HERO (827-4376 or visit BloodHero.com.