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Life Stories: Blood Donors

SCBB to Aquire New Technology

SunCoast Blood Bank has reached its fundraising goal of $71,100 for the purchase of a flow cytometer, initiated by a $30,000 challenge grant awarded by the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation in January. A $20,000 matching grant from the Charlotte P. Graver Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, $16,000 from the Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Foundation, and $5,100 from individual gifts through The Giving Partner 36-Hour Giving Challenge, completed the initiative.

This instrument will allow the automation of blood cell assessment that is currently being done manually. Flow cytometers are widely used in blood banks during the separation and counting of white cells in each blood product to eliminate the risk of infections in transfusion procedures. While a hematologist can count 200 cells in less than a minute by hand, a flow cytometer can discriminate cells at speeds up to 70,000 cells per second. The acquisition of the Flow Cytometer for the SCBB lab will make this process increasingly faster, safer and more efficient.

Brian Kolba
Brian Kolba

Brian Kolba

Brian Kolba, LUTCF, Agency Principal of Kolba Agency, Inc. of Sarasota and Allstate Insurance Company, recently awarded SCBB with a $500 charitable donation. Mr. Kolba nominated SCBB for an Allstate Helping Hands Grant, which allows Allstate employees to give monetary gifts to charitable organizations for which they volunteer their time. Mr. Kolba has been a volunteer with Suncoast Communities since 2005 and has helped with special events and outreach efforts. He also voluntarily gives of his time by donating blood. SunCoast Blood Bank is appreciative of this gift and values Mr. Kolba’s time and talents. He contributes wholeheartedly to making the community a better place by advancing the lifesaving message about the importance of blood donations.
Cindy Malkin
Cindy Malkin

Cindy Malkin

Cindy Malkin, Board Chair and Sarah Pappas, President of the William G. Selby and Marie Selby Foundation visit with blood donor Betty Johnson and phlebotomist Brenda Shumway.

SCBB recently received a $48,000 grant from the William G. Selby and Marie Selby Foundation to purchase state-of-the art blood collection equipment. This equipment maximizes collection efficiency and enhances the quality of healthcare available to the community.

The grant made it possible for us to acquire 40 automated blood mixers which result in the virtual elimination of product loss due to clotting and other preventable conditions. These automated mixers also replace some manual processes and ensures that the blood is collected during a fifteen minute time limit. On August 1st, SCBB officially started using the new blood mixers at all of its donor centers and bloodmobiles. Cindy Malkin and Sarah Pappas with the William G. Selby and Marie Selby Foundation visited the Mound Street donor center to look at the new equipment. SCBB thanks the William G. Selby and Marie Selby Foundation for their support.

From left to right: Cindy Malkin, Sarah Pappas, Betty Johnson and Brenda Shumway

Spreading the Word
Spreading the Word

Spreading the Word

Among the greatest challenges SCBB faces in recruiting and retaining donors is that the public is not aware that the need for blood is constant. Our hospitals cannot save lives without a safe and reliable supply of blood 365 days a year. Getting SCBB’s message out to the general public is now easier due to the generosity of Alice Rau. Understanding the important work we do, Mrs. Rau funded the creation of a powerful video featuring local blood donors, recipients and physicians. We urge you to take 5 minutes to watch this very moving video. Consider sharing the video with your friends, family and neighbors. Spread the word.

Boost Grant = Blood Collection Registration Safety and Efficiency
Boost Grant = Blood Collection Registration Safety and Efficiency

Boost Grant = Blood Collection Registration Safety and Efficiency

The $40,198 grant from The Community Foundation of Sarasota County continues to provide safety and efficiency during collection of blood. QDS is a computerized health history system available at all donor centers and bloodmobiles and used during blood donor registration. This system allows the blood donor to use a touch screen computer to answer health questions before donating. This process eliminates some of the need for a donor’s face-to-face interview with a phlebotomist.

QDS has been in use since last Spring and the benefits have been remarkable. It has enhanced safety features such as alerting staff when the form is not filled out completely, it has reduced staff time in interviewing the donor and it has also provided the donor with more privacy and bilingual capability, which provides even more accuracy when collecting information. The FDA-mandated donor health questionnaire is an important tool for blood safety to assess blood eligibility, and is but one of multiple screening steps taken with each and every donor to ensure the safety of the blood supply.

“The screening process is easier for the staff and the donors, and the record review process, prior to releasing the blood, is much more efficient. Without The Community Foundation’s grant we would not have been able to implement this project as soon as we did. I am very pleased that the safety of the blood supply and the quality of our operations continue to be higher and higher” – Diana Berry, SunCoast Blood Bank Quality Assurance Director.

Welcome Blood Buddy!
Welcome Blood Buddy!

Welcome Blood Buddy!

“Blood Buddy” is the newest addition to SCBB’s bloodmobile fleet and it is now serving our community thanks to a succesful campaign that raised over $300,000. The public was invited to attend the dedication ceremony held on Tuesday, June 12 at 9 a.m. at SCBB’s main donor center.

The capital campaign for the new bus was launched in 2011. “For this vehicle to be fully funded in less than a year, speaks volumes about how our community cares for its friends and neighbors,” said Scott Bush, CEO of SCBB. The majority was sponsored by local foundations and businesses, including the Ann and Alfred Goldstein Foundation, Bank of America Client Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Roberta Leventhal Sudakoff Foundation, William G. and Marie Selby Foundation and Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute.

The fundraising effort exceeded the $300,000 goal, generating $365,945.00. “The level of local philanthropy is astounding. The additional funds will allow us to maintain, fuel, and outfit the bus with additional blood processing instruments, all without negatively affecting our operating budget. This community-supported bloodmobile will allow SCBB to operate more cost-effectively, while expanding our life-saving mission,” said Bush.

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