BRAWLEY â€” San Diego Blood Bank mobile came to town Tuesday, drawing blood â€œfor patients whose lives depend on it,â€ said Jonathan Sanchez. Â Sanchez is a Calexico native, now a full-time phlebotomist working in San Diego for the San Diego Blood Bank.
The mobile Blood Bank was parked in the Womenâ€™s Center Parking Lot of Pioneers Memorial Hospital from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., a place they occupy every three months, Sanchez said.
The mobile Blood Bank is staffed by licensed phlebotomists and Registered Nurses, along with a driver.
â€œWe have been coming here for a long time, over 10 years,â€ Sanchez said. Â â€œWe come every three months here to Pioneers, and welcome anyone at all who wants to donate blood.â€
The Blood Bank frequents the Imperial Valley, traveling mostly to schools, from Calexico High School, to Southwest, Calipatria, and Brawley High schools. Â
Tuesdayâ€™s blood drive saw a little over 20 people, a low average for the mobile blood bank, Sanchez said. Â Typically in the Imperial Valley, the blood bank sees around 30 to 40 donors a day with their normal drives.
The average age range for Valley blood donors is anywhere from 30 on up, for both men and women, however Sanchez said they would like to see more youth participating.â€
Donnell Washington, 34, donated blood during Tuesdayâ€™s drive, something he has been doing â€œon and offâ€ over the years. Â
â€œIt doesnâ€™t hurt to help,â€ Washington said. Â â€œIâ€™m involved with a lot with kids, so if I can lead by example, and do something, maybe theyâ€™d like to do, thatâ€™d be great,â€ he said.
An avid coach for Little League, basketball, football, wrestling, and more, Washington first began donating blood in Calipat, where he works as a corrections officer.
â€œTheyâ€™ve gone out to Calipat before,â€ he said. Â â€œThis is my third time donating here at the hospital. Â Now I just pay attention to my emails for when theyâ€™re going to come again.â€
â€œDonating blood allows people in need of blood to survive,â€ Sanchez said. Â â€œIt helps families who are waiting for that transplant, to live another day. Â It helps people live and survive. Â Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s important today,â€ Sanchez said.
The Blood Bank is active in San Diego county, traveling all over the city, from big companies, to high schools, to colleges, and other professional locations. Â The Blood Bank also has multiple donor centers. Â
â€œThere is no difference in working at a mobile blood bank or a donor center,â€ said Sanchez. Â â€œThe difference is the machines.â€ Â
â€œDonor centers generally have different machinery, which allows donors to give plasma as well as blood platelets, along with double red cells and donating bloodâ€ Sanchez said. Â â€œThe mobile blood bank is able to take blood and double red cells, but not platelets or plasma,â€ he said.
The Blood Bank will next be parked at Brawley Union High School on Thursday, January 28th. Â It will be an open drive, meaning any and all interested people over 15 years old are welcome to donate.