Mission Nonprofit Spotlight: Bloodworks Northwest

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Each month, Thurston Community Media (TCMedia)’s Mission Nonprofit connects with local organizations and agencies that are making positive impacts in our communities. This month, Mission Nonprofit host Deborah Vinsel sat down with Juan Coto, director for government affairs, and Dan Fazio, public policy ambassador volunteer, for Bloodworks Northwest, in honor of Blood Donor Month (January).

Since 1945, the nonprofit Bloodworks Northwest, formerly Puget Sound Blood Center has been providing blood to about 90% of the hospitals between Bellingham and Eugene. They have physicians who specialize in transfusion medicine and provide care for patients with bleeding disorders and other blood-related conditions. They also offer testing services for organ and tissue transplants and patient care through their labs. And they do cutting-edge research to help people live longer, healthier lives.

Thurston County Blood Donation Center

Thurston County has a Bloodworks Northwest Donation Center located at 1220 Eastside Street SE, Olympia. This center takes donations of any type, including whole blood, plasma, platelets, super reds and cord blood. It’s easy to sign up, just head to the website and schedule a blood donation.

“The most common medical procedure in any hospital is still blood transfusion,” shares Juan Coto, director for government affairs for Bloodworks Northwest. “There’s one in the United States every 4 minutes, so donating blood, in the words of the late Dr. Beverly Torok-Storb from Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, ‘Blood is still very important and blood donations are still very important.’”

Bloodworks Northwest also works with businesses, organizations and nonprofits to organize blood drive using their mobile blood donation unit. For example, during COVID-19 they set up at the Mariner’s stadium with their mobile unit to take donations during games. They also hold a large drive during sessions of legislature.

Blood is always in need, shares Juan. He notes that they always want to make sure they have enough for when accidents or natural disasters happen. For example, when the train derailment happened in 2017, the blood that went to those patients had been donated just 10 days before. Short shelf life is another reason why blood donations are needed continually. Bloods lasts just 48 days once drawn, platelets a mere 5 days and plasma can be frozen to last up to 13 months.

Dan Fazio, public policy ambassador volunteer, works with the legislature to discuss the local blood supply, including post-pandemic relief. “Having a healthy blood supply is really a barometer of where we are as a community, as a state and as a nation,” shares Dan. Donating is something we all really need to do. “At Bloodworks they say, we’d like to have your time, your money or your blood,” he adds with a smile, “and I think that kind of summarizes it.”

For more information, watch the full video above. You can donate your time, money or blood by visiting the Bloodworks Northwest website.

You can watch Mission Nonprofit on channel 22 on Sundays at 3:30 p.m., Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m., Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 10 a.m. You can also watch on TCMedia website, Video On-Demand or our Roku channel. To learn more about what TCMedia does, visit the Thurston Community Media YouTube channel or the TC Media website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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