Despite heat, Valley residents donate at monthly San Diego Blood Bank drive

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Donor Karon Granish relaxes while donating blood Monday at the San Diego Blood Bank blood drive hosted by the Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District in Brawley. Photo by Daniella Rodiles

BRAWLEY - Although temperatures climbed Monday afternoon, Imperial Valley residents still made their way out into the hot weather and donated blood at the monthly San Diego Blood Bank blood drive hosted by the Pioneers Memorial Hospital. The blood mobile was stationed outside of the Pioneers Memorial Hospital Women’s Center parking lot from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District hosts the blood drives every eight weeks and invites all community members to join in the next two-day drive and donate. The blood drives are organized by Frank Salazar, PMHD director of marketing and public affairs.

As donors walked inside the Women’s Center building to register, volunteers from the Women’s Center Auxiliary welcomed them with a cordial smile and confirmed their entry and registration papers.

According to the San Diego Blood Bank web page, every pint of blood donated can save up to three lives. However, while approximately 38 percent of the U.S population is eligible to donate blood, less than 10 percent do so annually. Donated blood is distributed to patients suffering through cancer treatments, trauma injuries, anemia and to those who regularly need blood transfusions for other treatments.

Lisa Kauffman, team leader and registered nurse for the San Diego Blood Bank, along with her co-workers, supervised every donor’s safety, checked records and stored the collected blood to prepare it for distribution it to those in need. Kauffman, who has been an RN for 15 years, commented the blood bank is always happy to receive O negative blood type since it’s a universal donor.

“There’s always a need for O negative, especially to anyone who is in a emergency of the blood and there isn’t time to check the patient’s blood type – it works for everyone,” she explained.

Basic requirements suggested by the San Diego Blood Bank include donors to be 16 years old or older, yet those under 18 need parental consent. Donors must weigh at least 114 pounds, be in good health, have no active cold or flu-like symptoms, as it can transmitted to a patient, and should have valid identification like a driver’s license, passport, state ID, or school endorsed ID.

Brawley resident Karon Granish said she believes the impact of donating blood is perhaps saving several lives.

“I knew someone who would have died at birth if it weren’t for blood donors,” Granish said as she relaxed while donating. “It’s important to donate, because you never know if anyone you know will need it. I’ve done this before and it only takes a few minutes.”