Community

Cascade Valley Hospital holds blood drive

Arlington resident Kathy Freeman prepares to donate blood at Cascade Valley Hospital’s Dec. 30 blood drive. - Jake McNeal
Arlington resident Kathy Freeman prepares to donate blood at Cascade Valley Hospital’s Dec. 30 blood drive.
— image credit: Jake McNeal

ARLINGTON — Cascade Valley Hospital held its latest blood drive, in partnership with the Puget Sound Blood Center, on Dec. 30 to give Arlington residents another chance to give blood before the end of the year.

The drives occur once every three months, from noon to 6 p.m., so that donors can give blood on their way home from work.

“It used to be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. but people wanted it pushed back to fit their work schedules,” Community Relations Coordinator Jenny Egger said. “We love the Puget Sound Blood Center.”

Egger wore a pink Breast Cancer Awareness lanyard lined with Cascade Valley Hospital, Relay for Life and Heart Health Awareness pins to show her support for healthy living and generous giving.

Dr. Tim Richards, part of the Puget Sound Blood Center staff that facilitates the donations, has worked in blood drives for 17 years.

“At Skagit Valley Hospital it’s good and busy,” Richards said. “But this is probably the busiest we get.”

The hospital spread word about the drive through emails and on Facebook within the community. The average blood drive has between 50 to 60 donors and about four new donors each time, by Egger’s estimation.

“We’ve been uncharacteristically successful with this drive,” Egger said. “We have so many employees help out and it means a lot to people. I’m excited because the employees are so into it.”

Arlington resident Kathy Freeman donates blood as often as she can. She started in 1975 around the time her mother died of cancer and Freeman realized how valuable blood is.

“I’ve given a lot,” Freeman said. “I still have a lot left, though.”

Eldora Sundin of Arlington reached her Gallon Day, on which a donor receives a pin on his or her eighth visit, on Dec. 30. Sundin has been cancer-free for 28 years but didn’t know she was allowed to give blood again.

“People have to remember to hydrate before they give blood,” Egger said. “It’s usually hard to convince men to give blood. I’d be interested in seeing how many more women than men they bring in.”

Cascade Valley storekeeper Ginny Sullivan, who receives, distributes and sometimes orders supplies, has given blood steadily for four years. Her donations, however, are special.

“I have rare A Negative blood and lots of people need it,” Sullivan said. “Only 8 percent of people have it.”

The blood donation process is very simple.

“It’s quick and it takes 20 minutes,” Sullivan said. “It’s easy and it’s good karma. At first you’re a little light-headed afterward, but it’s probably more from lying down so long. Then you hang out, rest for 10 or 20 minutes, visit with fellow donors and you get a free cookie.”

Those who would like to give blood in the future can check for upcoming blood drives and make appointments at www.facebook.com/cascadevalley.

“This is a small town,” Egger said. “Your nurse could be your neighbor. It’s close to home and close to the heart. Three or four generations of families were born in this hospital.”

 

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