Each month, on average, approximately 20 community blood drives are organized across east Pierce County from Cascade Regional Blood Services’ blood donor center in Puyallup.
CRBS, which has supplied blood to CHI Franciscan and MultiCare Health System hospitals in south King and Pierce counties since 1946, relies heavily on mobilizing its four bloodmobiles to community blood drives at area businesses, churches and schools.
“Bloodmobiles are used seven days a week,” said Cari Dixon, assistant director of donor resources for CRBS. “Our newest bloodmobile is 10 years old. The older the fleet gets the more maintenance it needs. It’s become a challenge for us to partner with the community and do blood drives.”
Fortunately, relief is on its way.
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CRBS’ Get on the Bus fundraiser, started in 2013, has raised $160,000 — enough to refurbish the interiors of each bloodmobile and redesign the exteriors with a new wrap banner, removing the decade-old “children” theme.
“We are using Extreme Graphics in Sumner for the wraps on the bus,” Dixon said. “It’s a sleeker and professional design. We’re excited that our bloodmobiles will match our branding out in the community. We’re very grateful to the community, both as blood donors and financial supporters.”
Fundraising was accomplished through a combination of community donations and grants.
Each bloodmobile will receive a new interior. This, Dixon said, will include improving the fabrics inside, fixing the doors and creating better access to supplies to help staffing efficiency. All bloodmobiles will receive mechanical upgrades and a full tune-up.
CRBS is also excited to announce that it anticipates purchasing a fifth bloodmobile in early 2016 to add to the fleet.
“This will improve the donor experience for all in Pierce County,” Dixon said. “Having four upgraded bloodmobiles and a fifth will allow to partner seven days a week with the community without interruption.”
In the fall, winter and spring, CRBS benefits from school blood drives, which are responsible for 20 to 25 percent of the annual blood supply, Dixon said.
Rogers High School in Puyallup is one of the highest performing school donors in the CRBS service area, he added.
“They often don’t have space in their school to do a blood drive, so bloodmobiles are critical to getting blood donated,” Dixon said.
Community blood drives, annually, supply 60 percent of blood donations to CRBS across south King and east Pierce counties. Bloodmobiles play a critical part in ensuring a community blood drive is successful. And without community blood drives, hospitals would be in a bind, including MultiCare Good Samaritan in Puyallup.
“About 25 percent of the blood supply at Cascade Regional goes to Good Samaritan,” Dixon explained. “A lot of that is coming through the bloodmobiles.”