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Thursday 24 August 2017
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Community Blood Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania and Western New York

Giving blood saves an estimated 4.5 million people each year, yet fewer than one out of every 10 people in the United States donate. To help fill this gap, many employers have been crucial in ensuring regular contributions to blood banks by making the workplace available for donations. Here, Scott Greenwell, executive director of the Community Blood Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania and Western New York, talks about the organization’s mission and how employers can get involved.

The Community Blood Bank was established as nonprofit organization in 1966 to connect donors to patients who are in need of life-sustaining blood products in the communities it serves. What is the demand for blood donations in our region and what kind of difference can a single donation make?

The need is constant and never goes away. It is a perishable product that must be used relatively soon after it’s donated, which explains why we must constantly ask for your blood donations to meet the needs of the trauma centers, emergency rooms and everywhere else doctors need blood to save lives. We divide each blood donation into three or four different components because each is so important to different patients.

How safe is donating blood? What is involved in the screening process and donation time?

Donating blood is completely safe. All potential blood donors are given a thorough health history examination and tested for an adequate level of hemoglobin to ensure they are eligible to donate. The federal laws administered through the FDA and state health departments are as stringent to ensure the safety of blood donors as they are to ensure the safety of the hospital patient receiving the blood transfusion.

What are some of the health benefits to donors?

Donating blood regularly means you are constantly being tested for infectious diseases, such as the Zika virus, and when donating regularly every two months, we are monitoring your health status on a routine and frequent basis.

How can employers partner with the Blood Bank?

We work with many organizations and employers — large, medium and small — and tailor blood drives to meet their need to fulfill a mission of volunteerism and giving back to the community throughout Northwest Pennsylvania and even Western New York. We need new employers to host blood drives to help us meet the constant demand for blood and blood products in our local area community hospitals.

LivesEmployers can contact our director of donor services, Deanna Renaud at 814/456-4206 or deanna.renaud@fourhearts.org to learn more.

What should employers know before hosting a drive?

We will take care of all of the details and walk them through the process to ensure their blood drive is a success.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Definitely. There is no substitute for blood anywhere on the research and development horizon. It is unlikely we will see any form of artificial blood in the next few decades. Volunteering to donate blood can be a vital and important means of giving back or paying it forward for any individual, group, family, organization or business to fulfill the need we all have to believe we’re giving more to the world than we are taking. Not everyone can donate money or has spare hours to devote toward volunteerism but donating blood regularly costs nothing and will literally save another’s life.