Tag Archives: saving lives

Meet Hayley, a girl who overcame a rare blood disorder

Hayley comp crop 2011When Melana was pregnant with her first child, she worried a lot. She had vivid nightmares that reflected the typical fears of many first-time parents. At one of her last pre-natal visits, her stress tests revealed that the baby’s heart rate was dropping, so her doctors ordered an emergency Cesarean section. Hayley was born on May 31, 2000, weighing just 4 pounds, 10 ounces. Her parents were overjoyed to count ten fingers and ten toes and welcome her to the family.Hayley-Quote

But as Melana took Hayley to doctor visits and play groups, she couldn’t get over the fact that Hayley’s skin did not have the pinkish hue that most other babies her age had. Melana’s doctors assured her that nothing was wrong with Hayley, but her instincts told her something else. She took Hayley to urgent care where they drew blood for tests. The results of her blood iron level tests were so low that the doctors thought the lab had made a mistake. When the second results were also dangerously low, the emergency physicians called an ambulance to have Hayley rushed to Phoenix Children’s Hospital for an emergency blood transfusion.

During a process of elimination, doctors determined that Hayley suffers from Diamond Blackfan Anemia, a condition where her bone marrow does not produce red blood cells. Hayley did not respond to the steroid treatment that helps most patients with this disorder, so she was placed on chronic blood transfusion therapy. “We rely on the kindness of strangers to keep our daughter playing, jumping and laughing,” Melana says. “No other medical treatment will do that.”

Hayley received nearly 90 blood transfusions before her doctors determined that she needed to have a bone marrow transplant. Her transplant took place in November 2007 and Hayley needed additional red cell and platelet transfusions following the procedure. While avoiding public contact to prevent complications and infection, the family found creative ways to live as normally as possible while still giving Hayley the best chance for recovery.

Hayley-pop

Even if she no longer relies on monthly transfusions, her parents are especially grateful to blood donors who take the time to give regularly. “They are true heroes,” Melana said. “Their generosity really restores my faith in mankind.”
Hayley lives with her parents and brother.

Meet Rob, Phoenix police officer shot in the line of duty

Rob-crop-mug-2012People’s lives can change in a split second, and those who work in public safety professions face that reality every day. Officer Rob Sitek can describe those dangers firsthand.

Rob joined the Phoenix Police force in 2001, fulfilling a life-long dream. He was on patrol in East Phoenix with his partner, Officer David Thwing, on April 12, 2003, when they tried to pull over a carjacking suspect. The suspect fled into a residential neighborhood with the two officers in pursuit. The suspect pulled out a handgun and fired at Rob, who was hit by a total of four bullets – two of them less than an inch below his protective vest. He was able to maintain his composure and contact his dispatcher about his injuries and flag down a police helicopter overhead with his flashlight.

Rob-QuoteAt the hospital, doctors removed his spleen and parts of his colon and small intestine. He lost the equivalent of all the blood in his body five times and received a total of 148 transfusions – 93 red cell, 43 plasma and 12 platelet transfusions.

Rob is thankful for talented surgeons and blood donors who saved his life. “I applaud people who give blood regularly,” he said, “because their donations were available to my doctors when I was severely injured and needed it most.”

Rob-popFollowing 18 months of grueling rehabilitation, Rob returned to duty in the Advanced Training Bureau. He worked in the air support unit before transferring to the Reserve Division of the Phoenix Police Department in 2008.  Rob and his wife, Gretchen, were married in November 2008 and reside in Mesa.

United Blood Services Announces 5th Annual Tour de Hero Bike Ride

coffeemug_1colorRegistration is now open for United Blood Services 5th Annual Tour de Hero 100K/50K bike ride scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015.  Tour de Hero was created to help raise awareness and increase blood donations for patients during the winter holiday season. Riders are encouraged to recruit blood donors to give at a United Blood Services donor center between Nov. 1 and Jan. 10, earning discounted registration fees and one ticket for great raffle prizes for each donor recruited.  For information and to register, visit www.ArizonaHero.com/TourdeHero.  Then, grab your bike, have a great ride and become a hero to Arizona’s hospital patients this holiday season!

United Blood Services 5th Annual Tour de Hero Bike Ride
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Start/Finish/Grand Finale Lunch: UBS Headquarters, 6220 E. Oak St., Scottsdale

 

For Details & Registration, Visit www.ArizonaHero.com/TourdeHero
$25 Advance Registration + 50 Points (Increases to $50 after Dec. 15)
Points earned by recruiting blood donors and/or cash sponsors

  • 9:00am Advanced Ride: 100K/62-Mile
  • 10:00 Intermediate Ride: 50K/31-Mile
  • Noon – 3:00pm: Complimentary Finish Line Lunch

Sponsored by:
United Blood Services, Los Freeloaders Cycling Team, Bike Barn, Global Bikes, Southwest Bicycles, Sunday Cycles, Tribe Multisport, Chompie’s, Clif Bars, Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, Soleri at Cosanti, Polsinelli & Universal Technical Institute

During the fish line lunch, riders will personally meet and hear the stories of blood recipients whose lives were saved by blood donors.  Cyclists will ride in the name of a participating Arizona blood recipient and wear a UBS photo bib pinned on their jersey in the recipient’s honor.  Tour de Hero is scheduled to begin and end at the United Blood Services headquarters in Scottsdale, with rest stop locations throughout the ride and a complimentary finish line lunch.

 Since the inception of the ride, Tour de Hero cyclists have recruited nearly 650 blood donors to support hospital patients during the most difficult time of the year to maintain Arizona’s blood supply.  “A single donation can save several lives because blood can be separated into components,” said Audrey Jennings, United Blood Services Regional Center Director.  “In just one hour, each donor can be a hero for an accident victim, a person undergoing surgery and a child receiving treatment for cancer.”  Find the Hero in You at Tour de Hero!

Media Days Ramps Up Efforts to Increase Winter Holiday Blood Donations

As the winter holiday season goes into full swing, so do United Blood Services’ efforts to ramp up blood donations.  The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is the most difficult time of the year to meet patient blood needs.  To prevent a holiday blood shortage, 3TV is launching a campaign with nearly 20 radio stations and the Streets of New York to inspire 500 donors to give blood each day Dec. 23 through Jan. 4.  Donors of all blood types are needed, especially O-negative, the universal blood donor!

Dec 1 – 31:  Give Blood, Get Pizza!
2014-STNY-LogoAll December blood donors in metro Phoenix and the Prescott area will be rewarded with a voucher for a free 14” cheese pizza, courtesy of Streets of New York!  The fifteen-time winner of the New Times “Best Pizza in Phoenix” has partnered with United Blood Services to make sure patients across Arizona have the lifesaving blood transfusions they need this holiday season.  Native Grill and Wings has joined the effort in Northern Arizona by thanking all Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, Tuba City and Verde Valley donors with a voucher for a free 10” cheese pizza.  Since blood has a shelf life of 42 days, donors will help save patients throughout the most challenging time of the year to maintain our state’s blood supply. 

Dec. 23 – Jan. 3:  Media Days Lifesaving Broadcast @ UBS Donor Centers
Visit www.BloodHero.com to schedule your appointment.
O-neg-sidebar2To prevent a holiday blood shortage, 3TV is launching a campaign with 20 Valley radio stations and the Streets of New York to inspire 500 donors to give blood each day through Jan. 4.  The top reason cited for not donating blood is “No one asked me.”  Participating stations have solved this problem by each adopting two days to ask their listeners to roll up their sleeves at a United Blood Services donor center.  Leading up to each station’s designated day, a combination of community service programming, news stories and public service announcements are planned to increase awareness on the extraordinary need for blood donors during the holiday season.

saveazlogoSun., Jan. 4: Saving Arizona Blood Drive, Tempe Center for the Arts, 7am – 1pm
Click on the Saving Arizona image to schedule your appointment.
The excitement escalates with the grand finale event on Sun., Jan. 4, at the Saving Arizona Blood Drive, where United Blood Services hopes to attract 400 blood donors at the Tempe Center for the Arts to help replenish our state’s blood supply following the holiday season. All donors will be thanked with a voucher for a one-day gate pass to the Waste Management Phoenix Open, courtesy of The Thunderbirds, and a voucher for a complimentary 14” cheese pizza from Streets of New York.  To make a donation appointment at Saving Arizona, CLICK HERESponsored by: Tempe Center for the Arts, 3TV, News-Talk 92.3 KTAR, Arizona Sports Now on 98.7., Waste Management Phoenix Open and Streets of New York.

At the time of year when Arizona’s patient population is at its highest, blood donations are at the lowest.  “We hope to encourage more blood donations while people are focused on the spirit of giving,” said Audrey Jennings, Regional Center Director for United Blood Services/Arizona.  Winter vacations and school recesses prevent many organizations from holding blood drives.  The cold and flu season can also temporarily defer many regular donors from being eligible to give blood.  Jennings added, “It takes a personal commitment to save lives.  If you don’t give blood, who will?”

December 2014 Blood Drive Coordinator Tip

Tish Mailloux – Hero Award Winner from Mayo Clinic…

focuses on encouraging past donors to give more frequently.  They created an incentive program that provides gifts for donors who give at multiple drives during the year.  She utilizes online registration, cafeteria recruitment and email reminders as ways to break down barriers to participation. “Creating awareness about the blood drive program is the key. Keep the momentum going,” Tish said.  “Don’t let it drop when the blood drive stops.”

Meet Zoiey, 4-year-old gets strength from blood donors to battle cancer

Zoiey-Pink-Hat-updatedIn June 2013, 4-year-old Zoiey began having fevers, swollen lymph nodes and unexplained bruising. Usually vibrant and spunky, she became exhausted and lethargic. Her parents, Eric and Stephannie, took their daughter to the pediatrician. But once she was finished with the medication he prescribed, the symptoms returned. After three weeks, they insisted on tests to identify the cause of the infection. The doctor called with the results and urged them to take Zoiey to the emergency room. The emergency room confirmed that the test results were alarming and arranged for Zoiey to be flown to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Her blood counts were so low that she received a platelet transfusion en route, with another unit on board as well.

Stephannie called Eric, who was on the road to pick up his son in Bullhead City. “Meet us in Phoenix,” she said. “They think Zoiey might have cancer.”  Four days later, they were given the specific diagnosis:  acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Zoiey’s doctors began an aggressive regimen of chemotherapy. ALL is the most common form of childhood leukemia and about 90% of patients younger than five years old are cured following treatment.

Zoiey-QuoteFor the first week, Zoiey stayed in the hospital to receive her treatments with tests to monitor her progress. She received three platelet and four red cell transfusions during this time. Since Zoiey didn’t need around-the-clock treatment, the family was moved to the Ronald McDonald House near the hospital where she could have a more “normal” life, but still be close by to receive her treatments and tests. After three weeks, Zoiey returned home to Yuma.

Zoiey had another intense round of chemotherapy in October, with more scheduled in February 2014. Zoiey and her dad make monthly trips to Phoenix for treatments, tests and blood transfusions if her counts are low. Her treatments are expected to continue until October 2015, more than two years after her diagnosis. So far, Zoiey has received about a dozen blood transfusions to help her stay strong to fight the cancer.

Friends and family have rallied to support the family. Fundraisers, raffles, news stories and other events have raised awareness about childhood cancer and helped the family cover medical expenses.

Zoiey-Pop“We appreciate all the support we’ve received from the community,” Eric says. “Zoiey is a fighter. Thanks to blood and platelet donors, my daughter has the strength to battle leukemia.”  Zoiey lives in Yuma with her parents and two older brothers.

A Special Thank You Message From Blood Recipients

Dear Blood Donors:

Your small act of donating blood made a huge impact on my life.  When I was diagnosed with leukemia, my own blood was literally killing me.  Donated blood was the only thing that kept me alive before the chemo and radiation began to work.  And the donated blood continued to keep me alive while the cancer treatments drained me of all vitality.  It took 24 transfusions to keep me going, and because of those 24 wonderful donors I have been able to celebrate 10 more birthdays that I otherwise would not have had; and now that my cancer is cured I will continue celebrating all of the small and large events that make life worth living.

I don’t know whose transfused blood I received, so as far as I’m concerned, every blood donor saved my life.

From me and my family- thank you for taking a small amount of your time to give me the rest of my life.

~Katie Hahn

Kate & Paul

Paul and Katie Hahn


Dear Blood Donors:

You don’t know me, but I need to say “thank you.”

You don’t know me, but I need to say “thank you” for allowing me to follow my dreams.  You don’t know me, but I need to say “thank you” for giving me the opportunity to be a father and watch my daughter grow.  You don’t know me, but I need to say “thank you” for donating blood.  You don’t know me, but I need to say “thank you” for saving my life.

Thank you,

Branden Lombardi

Sophie and Daddy Dland crop

Branden and Daughter Sophie


Dear Blood Donors:

Our 4-year-old daughter, Zoiey, was diagnosed with leukemia in the Summer of 2013.  She was rushed to the emergency room, severely anemic, with her blood counts abnormal.  She needed several emergency blood transfusions, which helped to save her life.  It has been a long and crazy journey ever since.  Through it all, what we have been truly thankful for the more than the dozen blood donors who have chosen to help save our daughter’s life.  We don’t know who you are, but you are our heroes.  If she ever needs any more transfusions in the future, we know we have nothing to worry about.  We want to send a big “thank you” to all the blood donors and United Blood Services.  Just think about it.  The little bit of blood you give can save somebody’s life, like my Zoiey’s.   Every time you give, you are somebody’s hero.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Stephannie Gaines

Gaines-Family-1014

(l to r) Zoiey, Eric, Tanner, Travis, Stephannie


Dear Blood Donors:

I was born with a rare blood disorder that prevented my body from making red blood cells, so I needed a blood transfusion every month.  I received more than 100 of them.  In 2007, I received a bone marrow transplant from my brother.  I haven’t needed any more transfusions since then.

Thanks to blood donors like you, my life today is great! I just started high school and I love it! It is super big (it has about 4,000 kids enrolled) but it is fun! I recently auditioned for Peter Pan and got the role of Michael Darling. I am also cheerleading at Desert Storm elite and I adore it. It is fun doing all the motions and stunts. I sing in my school’s choir and volunteer with my mom with National Charity League. I want to thank all my donors and hope to see all of you at the next blood drive in Arizona!

Love, Hayley

Hayley comp crop 2011

Thanksgiving Blood Donors Hear the Sweet Sound of Saving Lives

Phoenix, Flagstaff & White Mountain Symphonies Thank November Donors with Free Ticket Vouchers

2014-symphonies-header

The holiday season is built on traditions and the annual Thanksgiving symphony partnership is one of United Blood Services most popular.  This year marks the 13th season that The Phoenix Symphony will inspire thousands of people to donate to build Thanksgiving holiday blood supplies by offering a voucher for a free performance.  Being the longest vacation week of the year for many, Thanksgiving has traditionally marked one of the most difficult holidays to meet Arizona patient transfusion needs.  Thanks to the “Sweet Sound of Saving Lives” campaign, United Blood Services has averted a Thanksgiving blood shortage for more than a decade.

While schedules often become more hectic leading up to Thanksgiving, the need for blood is constant.  Arizona patients depend upon nearly 500 blood donors every day, even during the holiday week.  Red blood cells (the most commonly transfused component) have a shelf life of 42 days, so November donors can save lives beyond New Year’s Day. “As we celebrate our health and well-being with family, it is important to remember that patients are relying on a plentiful blood supply so that they can celebrate another holiday with their families as well,” said Audrey Jennings, Regional Center Director for United Blood Services/Arizona.

Since the partnership was first established with The Phoenix Symphony in 2002, the campaign has grown to become one of United Blood Services most popular and has inspired more than 47,000 people to donate blood.  The Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra joined the effort in 2004 to thank Northern Arizona Thanksgiving donors.  Six years ago, the White Mountain Symphony Orchestra enthusiastically partnered and expanded the date of their campaign through Dec. 31 to reach people in outlying communities as United Blood Services travels across northeastern Arizona.

Symphonies Bring Music to the Ears of Blood Donors Across Arizona

  • The Phoenix Symphony, Nov. 1 – 30: Metro Phoenix Center MAX* donors (specialized donation procedure)
  • The Phoenix Symphony, Nov. 16 – 30: Metro Phoenix blood drives & all center donors
  • Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, Nov. 16 – 30: Cottonwood, Flagstaff, Sedona & Winslow blood drives
  • White Mountain Symphony Orchestra, Nov. 16 – Dec. 31: Holbrook, Pinetop, Show Low & Springerville-Eagar blood drives

 *Metropolitan Phoenix blood donors can take advantage of the offer the entire month of November by trying an automated MAX donation at any of United Blood Services six Valley donor centers.  MAX donors help United Blood Services better meet the daily needs of Arizona hospital patients by giving the automated donation procedure that is most needed based on their blood type and physical attributes.

maestroThe November symphony partnership with United Blood Services was inspired when The Phoenix Symphony’s late maestro, Hermann Michael, was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a disease that affected his body’s ability to produce blood cells.  Doctors treated him with chemotherapy and blood transfusions every few days.  Maestro Michael was grateful that blood was there for him when he needed it and shared his story with the public to inspire increased donations.  “This disease strikes only one person in three million,” he told The Arizona Republic when he was diagnosed in 1999.  “See how special I am?”  Although the maestro succumbed to his blood disease six years later, The Phoenix Symphony’s annual tradition of saving lives every Thanksgiving holiday continues.

November 2014 Blood Drive Coordinator Tip

Rachael Witkin

Hero Award Winner from Bank of America Chandler Boulevard Campus…
encourages her colleagues to create conversation about the blood drive.  “Don’t be shy.  Get out there and ask people to give blood,” Rachael said.  She wears her Hero Award cape to her events to attract attention.  And it works because people often ask her what she’s doing with her cape on.  “Just ask.  You’ll be amazed what can happen.”

November 2014 Blood Donor Rewards

2014-MAX-PhxSymphonyAll MAX Donors:
Maximize Your Impact!
All November MAX donors will receive a voucher for ONE ticket to a concert, courtesy of The Phoenix Symphony.
A MAX Donation is a specialized automated procedure based on your blood type and the current hospital need.

2014-Phoenix-Symphony-sponsorAll Phoenix Area Donors:
Hear the Sweet Sound of Saving Lives!
Donate blood Nov. 16 – 30 and you will receive a voucher for ONE ticket to a concert, courtesy of The Phoenix Symphony.

2010 FSO LogoAll Flagstaff Area Donors:
Hear the Sweet Sound of Saving Lives!
Donate blood Nov. 16 – 30 and you will receive a voucher for ONE ticket to the Jan. 23 FSO concert “Breaking Boundaries,” courtesy of the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra.

2014-WM-symphony-logoAll White Mountains Area Donors:
Hear the Sweet Sound of Saving Lives!
Donate blood Nov. 16 – Dec. 31 and you will receive a voucher for ONE ticket to a concert, courtesy of the White Mountain Symphony Orchestra.

2014-STNY-LogoAll Prescott Area Donors:
Give Blood, Get Pizza!
All Prescott area donors who give blood between Nov. 16 and Dec. 31 will receive a voucher for a free 14” cheese pizza, donated by Streets of New York.

McDonalds LogoAll Yuma and Tucson Area Donors:
Give Blood, Get Delighted!
Donate blood Nov. 16 – 30 and you will receive a voucher for an Egg White Delight McMuffin®, courtesy of McDonald’s®..

09-Promo-HeroinMe-LogoAll Donors:
Earn Hero in Me Rewards points when you donate. Rewards points can be used to get t-shirts, movie tickets, ice cream and more.  >Find out more

Cholesterol Testing:
Donated recently? We’ve performed a free total cholesterol test for you. About seven days after your donation, you can get your results! >Check it out!

Schedule your next appointment online,
or by calling 1-877-UBS-HERO (827-4376).

If you have been told previously by United Blood Services or another blood center
that you should never donate blood, please do not consider this message as an
invitation to donate. The Cape electronic newsletter is intended as an
informational resource for all friends of Arizona’s blood supply.