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FAQ on COVID-19 and Blood Donation — Stanford Blood Center



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October 2, 2021 at 5:30 am
By Suchi Pandey, MD

We would like to take this opportunity to provide some additional information about coronavirus and blood donation. Our hope is that people interested in donating blood consider all of the facts of the situation, namely that COVID-19 does not pose any special risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives. We would like to encourage all blood donors to continue to uphold their commitment to helping local patients, who continuously depend on life-saving transfusions.

In order to keep our community healthy and to make sure we are being mindful of your time, we’d like to remind you ahead of your appointment of some of our policies that may affect you eligibility to donate. Please reschedule your appointment if you have any symptoms of illness, such as a fever, cough, sore throat, congestion or G.I. symptoms. Previous diagnosis of or close contact with someone with who has COVID-19 may also affect your eligibility. However, receiving a Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine does not affect your eligibility to donate. Please read more below under the “Eligibility” section to learn more.

GENERAL INFORMATION ON COVID-19

 

What is 2019 novel coronavirus?

  • The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a new strain of the coronavirus that was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in late 2019.
  • The virus has spread globally, and there are currently cases throughout the U.S., including within Santa Clara County.

 

What are the symptoms?

  • Common symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath, among others.
  • These symptoms will vary person to person, though most individuals with coronavirus will experience mild to moderate symptoms that do not require hospitalization.
  • To view the full list of symptoms, view the CDC website.

 

How does it spread?

  • According to Stanford Health Care, the virus is believed to spread “by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes,” similar to the common cold or flu.
  • Accordingly, the best way to prevent getting the virus is by washing your hands frequently and avoiding contact with your mouth, nose and eyes when your hands are dirty.
  • For more specific guidelines, see “How do I stay healthy?” below.
  • Note that COVID-19 does not pose any special risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives.

 

How can I keep myself healthy?

  • Please use the following best practices for keeping yourself well:
    • Washing hands frequently with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
    • Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
    • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • It is also important to stay home and minimize contact with others if you have symptoms of a respiratory illness like fever or cough.

 

What should I do if I have or am suspected of having coronavirus?

  • If you have been diagnosed with (or are suspected of having) COVID-19, or if you have had close contact with someone diagnosed with (or suspected of having) COVID-19, please call our Resource Nurse at 650- 725-7336 to discuss your eligibility to donate.
  • If you have recently donated blood and any of the above scenarios apply, please call our Post-Donation Callback Line at 650-724-9968 immediately so we can evaluate your previous donations.

ONGOING BLOOD NEED

 

Why is it critical that I continue to give blood during this time?

  • Even during the pandemic, individuals in our community — potentially even individuals we know personally — will continue to be in car accidents, need emergency organ transplants, give birth to babies in critical condition and need chemotherapy. In short, there will still be lives that need saving.
  • We understand that this is a stressful time and want to assure you that we are taking your health and wellness very seriously. All of our practices are designed with this in mind, and additional policies have been implemented as an extra precaution. (See “What measures is SBC taking to ensure donor safety?” below.)

 

If your appointment schedule is filling up when I want to donate, should I walk into a center?

  • SBC is accepting walk-ins at this time.
  • However, we recommend that you make an appointment ahead of time to ensure you do not experience extended wait times.

DONOR SAFETY

 

Is there a risk of getting coronavirus from donating blood?

  • COVID-19 does not pose any special risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives.
  • Blood donation is a safe process, and we have implemented additional safety precautions at this time.
  • Please keep in mind that, since blood donors must be healthy and without fever on the day of donation, the risk of exposure to a sick person is extremely low at a blood drive.

 

Now that there is a presence of COVID-19 variants in California, is it still safe for me to donate?

  • Yes, it is still both safe (and necessary for patients’ health) for our community to continue donating blood.
  • All of the safety measure we currently have in place, such as requirement that everyone at a donation location wear a new mask (See more under “What measures is SBC taking to ensure donor safety?”), are expected to protect against all forms of COVID-19.
  • As long as you continue following safety protocol, there is no need to be worried about an increased risk of catching a COVID-19 variant during donation.

 

What measures is SBC taking to ensure donor safety?

  • As always, all of our equipment during the donation process is sterilized, and most is single-use only.
  • Hand sanitizers are placed throughout donation sites.
  • All donor areas, including the reception/waiting area, canteen, history booths and donation chairs are cleaned frequently.
  • We have increased spacing between donors in the canteen to the extent possible.
  • SBC team members wear face masks while interacting with donors during the entire donation process. All donors, volunteers and team members are required to wear a new, disposable face covering (provided by SBC) each day they come to a donation site.
  • SBC team members at all of our collection sites are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • SBC is continuing to strictly enforce the policy that team members must NOT report to work if they are feeling unwell.

 

What is done to ensure those donating are healthy and well?

  • Per our usual policy, anyone who comes to donate is required to be feeling healthy and well; donors are asked to read a list of COVID-19 symptoms upon entry to a donation location and to report if they are experiencing any of the symptoms. If they report that they are, they will kindly be asked to leave by our registrars for the safety of others onsite. Symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea and vomiting and diarrhea.
  • All donors are asked if they are feeling well on their donor history questionnaire as soon as they register and are not permitted to stay and donate if they report any symptoms of illness.
  • Per our usual policy, any person who wants to donate blood must have their temperature taken before they donate and is not permitted to stay and donate if they have a fever.
  • Donors are not eligible to donate if they have any risk factors for coronavirus, such as close contact with a person with coronavirus in the past 14 days.

ELIGIBILITY

 

Will I be deferred if I have received the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Assuming you are feeling well afterwards, there is no deferral for COVID-19 vaccines that have received Emergency Use Authorization or been approved for the public.
    • This includes the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
  • However, if you received an experimental vaccine as part of a clinical trial, you will be deferred for 56 days.

 

What are your deferral policies for diagnosis of/exposure to COVID-19?

  • Basic COVID-19 deferrals are as follows:
    • 14-day deferral for exposure to someone diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19.
    • 28-day deferral after recovery (28 days symptom-free) if you were diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19
    • 56-day deferral if you received an experimental vaccine as part of a clinical trial
      • (Per the above, there is no deferral for receiving a vaccine that has received Emergency Use Authorization, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.)
    • Temporary deferral for anyone with a pending diagnostic test for COVID-19
    • Anyone who has been asked to quarantine by doctors or local officials for participation in high risk activities
  • We encourage anyone who falls into the above categories and has questions to call our Resource Nurse at 650-725-7336  to discuss their eligibility.
  • If you have recently donated blood and any of the aforementioned scenarios apply, please call our Post-Donation Callback Line at 650-724-9968 immediately so we can evaluate your previous donations.
  • Learn more about our deferral policies by clicking here.

 

I feel healthy, but I’m worried that I have coronavirus but am asymptomatic. Is it still okay to donate?

  • We really appreciate your concern! The first thing to note is that respiratory viruses are not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there is no evidence to-date that SARS-CoV-2 can be transfusion-transmitted.
  • That said, routine blood donor evaluation will help prevent individuals with respiratory infections from donating. Blood donors must be healthy and have no symptoms of illness or fever on the day of donation (we take temperature on site, per our usual policy).
  • In addition, we are taking extra precautions for COVID-19 and have in place deferrals for close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.
  • If you ever do start to develop symptoms, we have a Post-Donation Callback Line that you can call after your donation, and we will immediately perform the appropriate follow-up. This goes for any illness.
  • If you are not experiencing any symptoms of illness and have not had any known exposure, we would love for you to come donate! We and patients in our community hospitals that need blood transfusions appreciate your willingness to donate.

 

Are there any travel deferrals?

  • When cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. were still low, SBC did implement a deferral for travel to high-risk areas internationally.
  • However, as the global health situation has evolved, we no longer feel that international travel history is an effective way to assess COVID-19 infection risk.
  • In accordance with updated FDA recommendations, on May 28, 2020, SBC eliminated COVID-19-related travel deferrals.

TESTING

 

Is SBC testing all donations for antibodies?

  • As of October 16, 2020, SBC is no longer testing all donations for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.
  • For a full assessment of previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2, please consult your primary physician.

 

Can I get a blood test to find out if I have (or had) COVID-19?

  • The CDC has provided criteria to guide lab testing for COVID-19.
  • If you are concerned that you may have COVID-19, it is important that you are evaluated by a physician. After reviewing your medical history, such as symptoms and possible exposures, a physician will determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
  • Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is not performed at Stanford Blood Center.

MORE INFORMATION

 

Are SBC team members vaccinated against COVID-19?

  • Yes. Team members at all of our collection sites are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

 

Where can I find updates regarding your policies on coronavirus?

 

Can plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 be used to treat patients with active infection?

  • During the height of the pandemic, Stanford Blood Center established a convalescent plasma program that involved taking plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 patients and transfusing that plasma into hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the hopes that the antibodies present in the donated plasma would help save the lives of the recipients.
  • Due to a decrease in the need for convalescent plasma as local cases have gone down, we are no longer recruiting for this program.

 

If someone can’t donate blood for any reason, are there other ways to help?

  • Absolutely! If someone has been deferred or can’t give blood for any reason, they can still make an impact in a number of ways:
  • Visit our website at stanfordbloodcenter.org/get-involved for more information.





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Bloodworks Northwest Joins Blood Emergency Readiness Corps

On May 1,Bloodworks Northwest joined 30 blood centers across the nation to form the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps (BERC), a first-in-the-nation partnership among community blood centers around the country to ensure blood availability whenever and wherever disaster strikes.

Bloodworks’ joining BERC means (1) that local donors can directly help when mass casualty events like natural disasters or mass shootings occur elsewhere in the United States, and (2) that when needs in our community exceed our local supply, other blood centers will be prepared to quickly transport blood to our region.

Bloodworks Northwest is the sole provider of blood to more than 95% of the hospitals in Western Washington and Oregon. As part of the BERC partnership, Bloodworks commits to storing extra units – approximately 15 units of O negative and O positive blood – on a rotating “on call” schedule to be available for BERC members for immediate emergency need.

Bloodworks will be on call for seven days during a three-week rotating schedule beginning in June. If the units are not used, the units will be put back into the local inventory for distribution.

“Bloodworks Northwest stands ready to assist other blood centers if called upon to provide emergency shipments to help communities in need near and far,” said Curt Bailey, President and CEO of Bloodworks Northwest. “This underscores the importance of having a strong inventory of blood available at all times in order to respond immediately when natural or man-made disasters happen in our local community and beyond.”

However, with regional blood supplies hovering around a 1-2 day supply, would there be enough locally- sourced blood if the Pacific Northwest was faced with its own mass casualty event?

“Our community is running dangerously low on the platelets and Type O blood needed to supply local hospitals, and straining our ability to provide transfusions for every cancer and surgery patient who need them,” said Bailey.

“If a mass trauma event were to happen today, we would not have enough blood available to help everyone who needs it. It is vital people donate blood to support everyday needs of patients as well as unforeseen emergencies.”

Curt Bailey, Bloodworks Northwest President and CEO

Before BERC, community blood centers facing a mass need event have relied on the goodwill of other blood centers to send additional units, which is sometimes limited or uncertain. With the country experiencing an ongoing nationwide blood shortage, creating an emergency blood reserve allows Bloodworks and other BERC members to know exactly how much extra blood they can count on.

To date, the program activated to support a mass shooting at a grocery store near Memphis, TN, a mass shooting at a school near Detroit, MI, and a mass casualty event brought about by a series of tornadoes throughout the Midwest. The recent shootings last weekend in Buffalo, Texas, and California highlight the need and effectiveness of an emergency reserve system.

In Washington and Oregon, 1,000 donors per day are needed to keep the blood supply at a safe and reliable level, since every two seconds, someone in our region needs blood. It does not take much for the supply to drop: one snowstorm, one tragedy, one heatwave can send it back to an unsafe level.

To donate blood, schedule an appointment at Bloodworksnw.org or 800-398-7888. Same day appointments are available. There is an especially high need for donors heading into Memorial Day.

About BERC: The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps was founded in 2021 to meet the immediate transfusion needs of hospitals and their patients when faced with a large-scale emergency situation that requires blood transfusions. To learn more and see a list of participating blood centers, visit bloodemergencyreadinesscorps.org.

To learn more about how blood emergencies on the ground at Bloodworks, listen to this episode of our podcast, Bloodworks 101, with Bloodworks Executive Vice President of Blood Services Vicki Finson titled “We Weren’t Going to Be Able to Help Them.”



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“From the Heart, to the Heart,” Chef Thierry Rautureau (S3 E23)

French-born Chef Thierry Rautureau has been a pillar of the Seattle culinary for decades as the visionary of such seminal restaurants as Rover’s Loulay, and Luc. When we approached him to join our Culinary Coalition in support of blood donation, he eagerly agreed and said in his interview with Bill Harper, “without blood, there is no life.” Well said, Chef. À table! 

Click here to listen to this delicious podcast episode and when you’re done, don’t forget to SCHEDULE A BLOOD DONATION APPOINTMENT too! Below is a transcript of this episode.

(L to R) Chef Thierry Rautureau, Bill Harper & John Yeager

Chef Rautureau: Well, here we go. It’s Sunday morning. Guess what? I couldn’t find anything better to do than going to give my blood. Why? There is such a high need. Come on. It’s free. It’s simple. Those guys are super nice, welcoming, and it takes five minutes to do. Just do it.

[foreign language 00:00:21-00:00:40] .

Bill Harper: Hi. I’m Bill Harper, and this is Bloodworks 101, an Anthem Award-winning podcast from the Pacific Northwest Primary Blood Center that’s designed to inspire you to donate time, money, or blood. Bloodworks is currently hosting a region-wide campaign to partner with the Pacific Northwest’s best chefs, brewmasters, and purveyors of delicious delicacies to inspire 10,000 new donors by June 30th.

We’re calling it “Savor Life, Save a Life,” and it is magnifique. And one of those chefs is Thierry Rautureau, the French-born James Beard Award-winning chef of such Seattle culinary institutions as Rovers, Loulay, and Luc. Known as “The Chef in the Hat,” he’s one of my personal heroes. And on a gray March Sunday, he came in to donate blood. And I sat down to ask him about his life, why food is like blood, and why now, of all times, he’s asking food lovers everywhere to donate blood. [foreign language 00:01:35] .

Chef Rautureau: And, you know, it’s like restaurants are just like anything [inaudible 00:01:42] . If it’s really good and really small, the guy at the helm eventually has to quit.

Bill Harper: Yeah. That’s…

Chef Rautureau: Nobody lives forever.

Bill Harper: Yeah.

Chef Rautureau: So it brings me back to the next subject. Nobody lives forever; however, in order to live, you gotta eat, you gotta drink, and you most definitely have to donate blood because your good blood is good for someone else as well. And it’s so painless to do it, so simple. Just need to take the time. Make the appointment. Come and visit. In 30 minutes, you’re in and out.

Bill Harper: [foreign language 00:02:18-00:02:57] .

Chef Rautureau: And in the middle of all this, you speak perfect French.

Bill Harper: [foreign language 00:02:59] .

Chef Rautureau: How does that work? How does that work? To translate what he just said, if anybody needs translation, he says reading the white lines on the bottom of the screen he was just mentioning how he had leukemia a few years ago. And you know what? That’s what saved your life.

Bill Harper: [foreign language 00:03:18] .

Chef Rautureau: All that blood collected from people donating, and it’s so easy. You can save one’s life so easily. One pint, one life. By the way, how you doing today?

Bill Harper: Great. Perfect. No problems at all.

Chef Rautureau: Wow.

Bill Harper: Just had recent surgery. So that’s why the crutches, but I had a stem cell transplant from a girl from Oklahoma, saved my life. And I got 267 transfusions of blood from Bloodworks. I was a patient at Seattle Children’s for eight years. And physicians there, they couldn’t have done the work that they did for me in chemotherapy and surgeries without the blood from Bloodworks. And so…

Chef Rautureau: 267 pints.

Bill Harper: Yeah.

Chef Rautureau: That’s 267 donation.

Bill Harper: Yeah.

Chef Rautureau: That’s so little to save one’s life.

Bill Harper: Yeah. This is…

Chef Rautureau: But it’s a miracle. I mean, you look like nothing has ever happened.

Bill Harper: Yeah. I mean, it’s just it’s so great to come back here and see people. And…

Chef Rautureau: No. Of course. Of course.

Bill Harper: Yeah.

Chef Rautureau: It’s like a family.

Bill Harper: Yeah.

Chef Rautureau: [crosstalk 00:04:11] .

Bill Harper: It’s good just to know that, you know, like, when I was in those hospital beds at Children’s, like, there are people out there coming in, taking their Sunday morning, Sunday afternoons, and taking time to save my life without even knowing my name or anything about me. So when was the last time you donated blood?

Chef Rautureau: I donated blood when I was 17 years old in France.

Bill Harper: [inaudible 00:04:31] .

Chef Rautureau: So that was… It was a long time ago. Let me see. Seventeen, you know, in ’62. So you do the math.

Bill Harper: So we came to you. Now, what’s the “Savor Life, Save a Life” campaign? And so what’s really driving you to want to be involved in this program, be involved with us? What? Like, why now?

Chef Rautureau: Well, as mentioned before, you know, when we had the [inaudible 00:04:53] the restaurant industry is one of those industry for some reason you hear “I need,” and somehow they show up.

Bill Harper: Mm-hmm. Yeah. [crosstalk 00:05:03] .

Chef Rautureau: I mean, at the worst of day, broken down, you still show up. Why? Just because it doesn’t… I think one of the main reason is it doesn’t involve cash. It only involves time, and it involves spirit. And it involve belief in the community. It involve, you know, believing in the support of each other. Today, I’m healthy, and I’m joyful. You might be broken and hurting. You know, and that’s just the way life goes. Not everybody is all at once up, and not everybody’s down at one time. So when you’re up, you have to think of the people who are down because, just so because, tomorrow it could be you. You know, you don’t donate anything in life. That’s what donating means. It means you’re not thinking, “I’m gonna need it.” You’re thinking, “They need it.” Right? That’s what the word “donate” mean. “Donate” doesn’t mean you’re thinking, “What am I gonna get back for it?” That’s business. That has nothing to do with donation. Donation is when your heart says, “That’s the right thing to do for the people that needs it.” So you donate without thinking because you can. That’s all there is to it, not, “I have money so I can buy anything I want” because you can. That’s a different story. This one is donation. It’s from the heart, goes straight to the heart.

Bill Harper: Yeah. Donating blood is literally a gift from the heart.

Chef Rautureau: Yeah. Absolutely.

Bill Harper: [foreign language 00:06:31] .

Chef Rautureau: From the heart to the heart. I mean, from one heart to another. It’s like a little love story.

Bill Harper: It is a love story.

Chef Rautureau: Probably is love of life, for sure.

Bill Harper: Absolutely. Yeah. So how did Chef Rautureau from a small town in France who came to America on a newspaper ad with $14 in his pocket end up in Seattle?

Chef Rautureau: Started with 14 bucks in my pocket and never looked back. I was in Los Angeles for five years and then came to Seattle to see that same buddy had moved back up to Seattle with his wife, Caroline, and so went to visit Cyril and Caroline in Seattle and went to this place called Rover’s, had just got the little review in the LA Time. And little house converted into a restaurant, very small, 24 seats. Went into there. So bought the restaurant with a partner, and two years later, I bought my partner and never looked back. Been flying solo ever since, and it’s been an incredible career. You know, in the last two year… No, not two years. In the last six months, and I have no restaurant left. You know, been working, and just the paperwork needs to be wrapped up and all that. But in general, I don’t have to go to restaurant every day. And I start looking back a little bit, which I never done in my entire life. It’s a bit weird and scary to see how much one can do in a lifetime. That’s a lot of blood, as they say. You know, it’s like lot of sweat, lots of tears, and lots of blood is given into that life. I feel like I’ve already worked two lifetimes since 14 years old. You know, the average day is such a long day. It’s like I’m 62. So at 61, I worked from 14 to 61. I’m like, “Yeah. In terms of hours, that’s definitely two lifetime of work.”

Bill Harper: Yeah. Well, yeah. That summer that I was working in that French restaurant, it was 18-hour days 6 days a week. Yeah.

Chef Rautureau: And it’s not a joke. I was 14 years old. I was skinny like a green bean, like a small kid. I wasn’t tall. I was short on top of it. So that doesn’t help, but, I mean, I would work 7:30 in the morning. You would come downstairs. You have your coffee, your cigarette…

Bill Harper: [inaudible 00:08:52] .

Chef Rautureau: …non-filter first thing in the morning. I mean, talking about the worst health ever. Most importantly, the heart was definitely taking a beating because you were pumping really hard all day long. But anyway, yeah. I mean, you start at 7:30 in the morning. The chef would come at quarter to eight. We had an 1897 coal stove, all beautiful porcelain and metal and, of course, iron. But every morning, we’d have to fill up the… Three times a day, we had to fill up from the pile of coal and then fill up the stove, taking the rings off, filling up the stove. I mean, looking back, I’m like, “That’s pretty cool. Looking in, absolutely horrible.”

And the chef would walk in. He was just like, oh, you wouldn’t believe this. This person was a monster, but he would walk in and be like, “What are you guys, not awake this morning?” Like, anyway, shaking all day long, smoking bad cigarettes, and eating chicken wings for dinner. You know, it’s like whatever. It’s like it was just horrible.

Bill Harper: Chef certainly has come a long way from those days, with three beautiful restaurants in Seattle winning the highest accolades in the culinary world. After the pandemic shut down his last two, what’s next for Seattle’s “Chef in the Hat”?

Chef Rautureau: I think I’m in a stage in my life where consulting, you know, doing jobs like that perfectly, I’ll use my experience to help, you know, to input into other businesses. But physically being on the line, now way. I can’t do it no more, and this is not a weak person talking. This is a smart person talking. I’ve already spent 60 years, most of my 60 years, working. Is this a goal of me to die in the kitchen? Never. I am not that guy. I wanna see the world. I want to see more of the diversification we have offering on this planet. I’m not the kind of person that just want one thing. I’m not monochromatic, I hope. I mean, I love what I do. Don’t get me wrong. It’s been my life. It’s been so fun. You know, having the chance in a lifetime to have a restaurant like Rover’s where you can just play every single day at your craft is one of the biggest wish anyone should have.

Bill Harper: [crosstalk 00:11:19] .

Chef Rautureau: I never knew this was gonna be like that, but I’m glad I walked that life. You know.

Bill Harper: You contributed to the entire food culture in the city and, I think, well, the country too. I mean that’s…

Chef Rautureau: And I’m glad I was part of that movement or part of, you know, helping or part… I don’t even know if it was any help. I think it was a… You know, restaurants are like blood. You need them. You need that blood to be part of your community. You know, it’s part of us. What would life be without a restaurant or a bar? It’d be pretty sad. I mean, it would be very sad. We saw that during COVID where you couldn’t get out of your house or you couldn’t go into public places. How much was that missed? Tremendously. It changed our entire life.

That was a very sad… I don’t think people do well without the social part of life, you know, which brings back the whole thing to what we started with. We live in a community. We are sensing each other.

You definitely need to have and donate blood because, you know, without blood there is no life.

So, you know, that great campaign that’s happening right now, “Savor Life Save a Life,” is such a great momentum because all those restaurants everyone needs to eat. And the saying is if you go out and you’re gonna go into a restaurant and you’re gonna give life to that restaurant.

The same thing is true for blood. You go to the Bloodworks, and you just donate your blood. And you save a life, and it’s such a simple, simple thing to do. Make an appointment. Show up. Give your blood. Save a life. I mean, in four steps, you just saved someone’s life. It’s very simple.

Bill Harper: Many thanks to Chef Rautureau and all the other participants in our “Savor Life Save a Life” blood donation campaign. I like what Chef said there, “from the heart to the heart,” like a [foreign language 00:13:20] or [foreign language 00:13:22] or the last blood transfusion before a child reaches remission, the best things in life really do begin in the heart. Merci beaucoup for listening, and please remember to subscribe.

I’m Bill Harper with Bloodworks 101 asking to please go to bloodworksnw.org and make an appointment to donate blood. Make that donation by June 30th, and you can enter to win a one-of-a-kind culinary experience. [foreign language 00:13:50] .



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“It Takes All Types at Three Magnets Brewery” (S3 E24)

Something special is brewing at Olympia’s Three Magnets Brewery.  It’s a new blood orange red IPA that’s part of a blood donation awareness campaign with Bloodworks Northwest called, “Savor Life Save a Life.” And on this edition of Bloodworks 101, producer John Yeager tells us that there’s a lot more to this special beer than ingredients like hops and barley and even the creativity of the brewers. If you want to find the heart of this story, just ask Sara Reilly, one of the co-owners at Three Magnets. 

Click here to listen to this delicious episode if our Bloodworks 101 podcast and when you’re done, be sure to schedule a blood donation appointment too; you never know who’s out there counting on you for help. Below is a local news spot about the “It Takes All Types” launch, followed by a transcript of this episode.

John: One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three. All right, can you tell me who you are and what you do?

Sarah: My name is Sarah Reilly. My husband and I own Three Magnets Brewing Company in Olympia, Washington.

John: So why are you guys involved? Well, just give me an overview about what’s going to happen regarding Savor Life with you guys here.

Sarah: Yeah, so we were asked to join the campaign to brew a special beer for it. And we are doing that in collaboration with many different organizations, Lucky Envelope Brewing, Flatstick Pub, of course, Bloodworks, and Imperial Yeast. We’re making a blood orange IPA for it, which is kind of a [inaudible 00:00:52], I suppose.

The reason why we wanted to get involved was partially because blood transfusions helped save my father’s life. While he was going through some heart failure, he ended up with a heart transplant. And of course, blood is an imperative part of that process.

John: So could you tell me who you are and what you do?

Jim: Yeah, my name is Jim Ellsner. I’m a retired sales rep with an oil company.

John: So, Jim, tell me about what went through…well, what you went through in that period before you had to get the heart transplant, and then just bring us along for that ride, if you will.

Jim: Sure, I was working, and in January of 2011, my heart pretty much went into heart failure. And I spent a few weeks at the local hospital at Providence, working with my cardiologist and everyone there, and was slowly but surely dying.

And my cardiologist, thoughtfully, about two years prior to that, knew that, at some point, I was going to need more help than he could give. And he sent me to the University of Washington, the Northwest Heart Center. And I met with a doctor up there, Dr. Wayne Levy.

And so, I had an association with this fellow. And in January of 2011, my heart pretty much went into failure, and they did as much as they could for me in Olympia, and then sent me to the University of Washington. And within a few days up there, they ended up putting an LVAD heart pump in me, a little rotary vein pump that runs all the time. It was pretty cutting-edge stuff at the time. And in fact, our ex-vice president, Dick Cheney, had one just like that.

And so, I think I was somewhere, like, maybe in the 40s, number 44 or something like that, of the number of LVAD heart pumps they’d put in. And now they’ve done just tons of them. And as a result of that, I was on that for about 23 months, whereupon, I finally got a heart and had a heart transplant in December of 2012.

And so, as you know, during things like that, they have to put you on a heart-lung machine and transferring fluids in body, you know, blood and everything around. And so, the blood was a very big part of it, and I used a lot of it.

And so, I’ve been very grateful to, you know, the Blood Center and to the University of Washington for giving me an opportunity to live a longer, fuller life.

John: So when you see people donate blood now, it’s personal?

Jim: It’s very personal. Yeah, there’s such a demand for it now. And I guess now, especially. And I think most people just don’t realize how big a need that there is out there. Every day, there’s a huge need.

John: And what do you feel like seeing him…having him around for a few more years?

Sarah: Yeah, I mean, my dad was only 59 when he went into heart failure. I was married, but I didn’t even have children yet. Now I have a 6 and 8-year-old that have a grandfather that they would not have had if the technology wasn’t around and if the donations weren’t around. So very grateful to have him around. We did lose my mother five years ago. And so, it’d be pretty hard to have lost both parents so young. Yeah.

John: So what’s your message for people out there? I mean, I can pretty much fill in the blank. But personally, how do you want people to consider blood donation right now? What’s your message to people, in short?

Sarah: I think giving blood is something that’s very simple, doesn’t take very much time, but makes such a massive impact. People just have to remember that it’s something they need to do and try to make make it a regular basis and constantly give. And, you know, it really makes an impact, something very simple that can save a life.

John: So, as far as Three Magnets, give me an idea as far as what you guys are doing for the campaign or how we… Yeah, give me an idea of what you’re doing for the campaign.

Sarah: Yeah, the whole idea behind this campaign is to make sure that people are aware that there is not enough blood right now. It’s critical levels. And so, really, we’re just trying to get the word out. So that will be on our can, and that message will be given across at many different restaurants and pubs throughout the Pacific Northwest to just remind people that it is a dire time.

John: Is there a special brew that you guys are making?

Sarah: Yes, yeah. Blood orange IPA, along with Lucky Envelope Brewing. It seems appropriate, of course, because of blood. And then you always think of blood donations and orange juice. And, you know, just a little reminder to people and also kind of funny at the same time.

John: Is there anything else that you’d like to add that I didn’t ask? Jim, what about you?

Jim: You know, I think one of the things that’s important is for people to really think about this is, it is such a simple thing giving blood. And what most people really don’t put in their mind is that it could happen to you. Tomorrow, you could be in a car wreck.

Tomorrow, you could have a massive hemorrhage or something and need a massive amount of blood. And so, we’re all vulnerable, and it’s important to just get out there and let that little simple thing save somebody’s life, and it might be their own.

John: Thank you. Thanks, guys.



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