Drive exceeds expectations, bringing in 29 units from 33 donors

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Roland Lester, senior at West Linn High school, donates blood at the mobile unit at City Hall on Friday. The city’s end-of-summer blood drive on Aug. 30 proved a success, as donations from 33 volunteers yielded 29 units of blood — four more than the set goal of 25.

In all, the American Red Cross estimated that the city’s efforts would help a total of 87 patients.

“It went really well,” West Linn Recreation Director Terri Jones said. “The citizens of West Linn are so compassionate and generous.”

The city joined with the American Red Cross to conduct the region’s first “blood challenge,” which was designed to help collect blood during the summer months when schools are out and many regular donors are on vacation.”It is a tough time of year for us as summer comes to an end,” Red Cross representative Jeanie Griesser wrote in an email to the city. “So your hard work is appreciated.”

At this time of year, the American Red Cross needs platelet donors and whole blood donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood.

A number of surrounding metro area cities also participated, including Lake Oswego, Gladstone, Milwaukie and Happy Valley. The challenge started Aug. 1 and will be completed by the end of September.

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Red Cross team supervisor Cynthia Key attends blood donor Roland Lester.

Though the city has hosted blood drives in the past, this is the first time it has participated in the blood challenge, which is a new Red Cross program.

“This is the first time we’re running it in the area,” Red Cross Marketing Program Manager Sandy Parkin said. “Basically, anything run by the city can be in the competition, so it’s not like a whole city enters.”

The city blood challenge includes cities throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington and is divided by region. West Linn’s drive was part of the Portland Metro region.

When the drive ends later this month, the Red Cross will tally up the numbers and hand out awards based on total blood collection, number of first-time donors and improvement from previous drives.

“Some of these organizations already have drives that they ran earlier in the year,” Parkin said. “We wanted to put in something for someone who already had a drive.”

According to the Red Cross, more than 44,000 blood donations are needed on any given day, and a new person needs blood about every two seconds. One donation can save the lives of up to three people.

The Red Cross collects about 80 percent of its blood through mobile drives similar to those featured in the blood challenge.

All donors must be healthy, be at least 17 years old (or 16 with parental consent) and weigh at least 110 pounds.

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