ARLINGTON — Two Arlington residents were among the Snohomish County donors and volunteers honored by the Puget Sound Blood Center on Friday, Nov. 15, for their lifesaving efforts.
Gaylord Lund earned the Puget Sound Blood Center’s Volunteer Achievement Award for donating more than 438 units of blood and platelets, adding up to 54 gallons of donations, even before he stopped by the Everett Donor Center on Thursday, Nov. 14, for a platelet donation appointment.
Although Lund has been donating blood for 47 years, he noted that he only began donating platelets in the 1990s. He credited his habit to his father, Austin Lund, who gave plenty of blood of his own, before encouraging his son to do the same starting in 1966.
“I was surprised and honored, knowing that there were just as many other volunteers who were as deserving,” said Gaylord Lund, describing his reaction when the Puget Sound Blood Center called to inform him that he was one of only four recipients of this year’s Volunteer Achievement Award. “Volunteers make for a strong community. Anyone can do something to help their community, no matter how small it may seem. For me, donating blood is one of those things that I can do.”
Lund urged people to take the time to donate — one hour to donate blood, and two to three hours to donate platelets — either by going to the Puget Sound Blood Center, or by keeping an eye out for one of their Bloodmobile drives throughout the region.
“I get a good feeling inside, knowing that I might have helped saved someone’s life,” Lund said. “You never know when you might need the gift of life yourself.”
Joyce Phillips represented the Carbajal family in receiving the Puget Sound Blood Center’s Community Service Award for the Elliot Carbajal Memorial Blood Drive, an ongoing campaign that began in January of 2010, after Joyce’s brother Elliot died at the age of 40 in 2009. Elliot was a multi-gallon blood donor who encouraged his family and friends to donate blood, and the Carbajal family has since heeded his wisdom by organizing five area blood drives, often at the Haggen Food & Pharmacy in Arlington, which have registered a total of 384 donors.
Phillips explained that the Carbajal family blood drive began when she told her siblings that she was going to donate in Elliot’s name, and they wanted to accompany her, but the Puget Sound Blood Center couldn’t provide space enough to accommodate the entire large family.
“So, one of my siblings suggested that we have them come to us,” Phillips said. “A few of Elliot’s friends asked when the next year’s drive would be, and a tradition was born. Little did we know that a few of our family members would need blood within the next few years.”
Phillips reported that the Carbajal family was excited to hear that they’d received the Community Service Award, because they see it as evidence that Elliot’s life is continuing to help other people live.
“Not only did he donate his kidneys upon his passing, but now, four years later, he’s still alive in our hearts,” Phillips said. “The only way to show how much we loved him is by doing what he loved to do. The need for blood donations is so common, and yet there’s no substitution for human blood. Not everyone can donate blood, but we highly encourage everyone to contribute to their community in some way. Touch someone’s life now, while you can.”