May 26, 2015 | by Nicole Levine
Traditionally, blood donation comes with perks – tokens such as a gift certificate, swag emblazoned with the donor center's logo or the occasional movie ticket.
Kasie Uyeno, manager of Blood Donor Recruitment for City of Hope, knows that's not what brings donors back to the center again and again. They come for the ability to help others. That understanding sparked her idea for COH Donate: a free app that, in addition to offering practical applications like scheduling and reminders, aims to connect donors with examples of how they're helping.
"Think of it as a feel-good corner on your phone," she said in a recent interview with ABC7. "We want to help connect those dots for our donors and show them patients whose lives were saved because of their generosity – let them see the magnitude of what they've done."
Blood products are especially important at City of Hope, where patients who have received bone marrow and stem cell transplants rely on transfusions and platelets while their body rebuilds its immune system.
City of Hope patients need more than 37,000 units of blood and platelets each year. In comparison, City of Hope’s Michael Amini Transfusion Medicine Center brings in about 22,300 units of blood and platelets each year, not nearly enough to meet the hospital’s needs.
The free app allows blood donors to make appointments, find a City of Hope blood drive in their area, receive appointment reminders and read stories from patients who benefited from a blood or platelet donation.
Donors can also receive reminders to drink plenty of water on the day of their donation and what to bring to their appointment. In addition, users who provide their blood type can be contacted when their type is especially needed.
The app currently tracks how much blood an individual has donated, and eventually will allow users to track when their donation was used.
It's all about bringing donors closer to seeing exactly how their blood donation saved a life.
"We want to drive home the importance of donating blood," Uyeno said, "and that's to save lives."
Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion by visiting our website or by calling800-826-HOPE (4673). You may also request a new patient appointment online. City of Hope staff will explain what's required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.