Wearing beaded necklaces while surrounded by images of harlequins, masks and confetti, City of Hope employees and other donors celebrated Mardi Gras-style at the Michael Amini Transfusion Medicine Center on Jan. 6. As a result, patients received a much-needed lifeline.
Most of the 34 units of whole blood and six units of platelets came from employees enrolled in the Employee Donor Loyalty Program. A little more than 14 percent of staff members are enrolled in the program, up from just 0.5 percent two years ago.
|Yolanda Fuentes preps City of Hope clinical research associate Deron Matsuoka for his Jan. 6 donation. (Photo by Deborah Millstine)|
Still, the center is not receiving enough donated blood to keep up with patients’ needs, said Jill Schwarz, manager of whole blood and platelet recruitment. More than half of the 2,745 units of much-needed blood products transfused in November 2009, for instance, were purchased from outside sources for $555,000. “Think of all the important research we could do with that money,” said Schwarz.
Employees can help by meeting or exceeding their loyalty program commitment of five blood or platelet donations in a program year. The new program year begins Feb. 1. All it takes to donate is good health, willingness and a little time, she said. City of Hope counts employee time spent donating as time worked.
After going through a registration process, patients can provide whole blood or platelets in a process that generally takes one to two-and-a-half hours.
Within three to five days, a City of Hope patient receives the employee’s donation.
Aside from the satisfaction of giving a priceless gift, program participants qualify for merchandise, paid time off, recognition (internal and external announcements) and more.
To learn about the upcoming “March Madness” blood drive or the loyalty program, visit www.coh.org/employee-donor-loyalty-program or call Brenda Lotero at ext. 68384.