Blood Mobiles Change Donation: March 22, 2013

A lot has changed in 50 years of collecting blood, including one of the driving forces behind donations: the rolling out of blood mobiles.

So this was your first blood mobile? It looks like a school bus. That is correct, they converted the bus.

It was the 1960s. This Bluebird bus was a bloodline, taking blood from people in the community to give to people in the hospital. Fast-forward and today - 70% of donations come from on-site blood drives.

“Seven days a week we are out, seven days a week. And we’re always looking for more places,” says Nancy Hendrick, with the Lee Memorial Blood Center.

Using a mobile donation center opened up a world of possibilities. Making it convenient for schools, businesses, communities and governments to roll up their sleeves and pitch in.

Dayiana Burdier works for the city of Cape Coral.

“We sponsor this blood mobile, and when they come here, we send e-mails out to employees to come out and donate,” says Burdier.

“All of the departments kind of have a challenge to see which department can give more,” says Michael Quigley.

The mechanics have changed, but one thing hasn’t, the need. Blood supplies constantly need refilling.

“We need about 800 units a week just to sustain the health system needs and sometimes weeks go by and it’s slow and all of a sudden you get a trauma,” says Hendrick.

Surgeries and cancer treatments are other big blood users, helping people who never thought they’d need it.

“When I was younger, I was involved in a car accident and I was given blood through transfusions and I want to give back,” says Quigley.

And today, blood centers are more than happy to come and get it.