Posts Tagged ‘houston’

Belts and Blood: Local MMA Community Gathers to Help Save Lives

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center partners with lots of different kinds of organizations to host blood drives that attract a wide variety of donors – students, business professionals, healthcare workers, military veterans… the list goes on and on. And after last Saturday, you can add MMA fighters to that list.

At a blood drive hosted by, the online hub for MMA (mixed martial arts) activities in the Houston area, The Blood Center counted 13 MMA fighters and an even greater number of fans and supporters among its donors. The drive brought in a total of 44 products to help save lives in local hospitals!

Barry Laminack, co-owner of the website, said he was particularly proud of the event not only because of the difference it will make for local patients, but also because of the positive light it shed on the Houston MMA community. His detailed write-up on the event is posted on the site.

Take a look to learn more about the drive and the many individuals and organizations that helped make it happen, and view photos from the event. Thanks to Paradigm Training Center, where the drive was held, and to everyone involved with for a fantastic blood drive!

Joe Trevino, Guilherme Moreira and Colin Thomas Wright were among the local MMA fighters who came out to support the blood drive Saturday.

CenterPoint Energy’s Advocates for Automation

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

“Donating is a cool thing to do,” said Stephen Wahley while showing off his new Commit for Life T-shirt.

It’s no secret that CenterPoint Energy is a huge supporter of saving lives through blood donations. In fact, CenterPoint Energy was named the 2010 Corporation of the Year at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s annual “A Celebration of Life” awards ceremony in February. Last year, CenterPoint hosted 170 blood drives, yielding 4,488 donations, enough to impact more than 13,000 lives – WOW!

Many of CenterPoint’s locations throughout the greater Houston area host at least four blood drives a year, and some, including the H.O. Clarke Service Center, host even more than that! The H.O. Clarke Service Center hosts six blood drives a year – one every other month – and usually collects 40 to 50 products at each drive. Their March drive saw 46 successful donations, including 37 whole blood donations, four double red cell donations and five red cell plasma donations.

If you’ve never made an automated (otherwise known as apheresis) donation, you might be scratching your head after reading those last two donation types. As you may know, your blood is composed of red blood cells, platelets and plasma. Hospitals give blood to patients in the form of components. For example, burn patients often receive plasma, while cancer patients frequently receive platelets. After you donate a unit of whole blood, The Blood Center’s lab techs separate your donation into the three components for delivery to local hospitals.

When you make an automated donation, your blood is separated into components while you donate. As the blood leaves your arm, it’s processed through a machine. This machine separates your blood so that select components can be collected and the remaining components returned to your arm. Pretty cool, right? This nifty technology allows us to better match donations to the current needs of patients in our region. Visit the Type Matters page on our website to learn how you can optimize the benefit of your automated donation based on your blood type.  

Cheryl Jackson, blood drive chairperson for the H.O. Clarke Service Center, is a supporter of automated donations, requesting the staff and equipment for automated donations at every other blood drive this year. Her donors are more than willing to spend the extra time it takes to make an automated donation.

“I like giving plasma because it helps the burn victims,” said Vince Gottleib, an 11-gallon donor who has been donating since 1982. Although he admits he was nervous the first time he made an automated donation, Vince now actually prefers them “because the machine gives you saline back in, so end up with just as much fluid afterward.”

CenterPoint’s H. O. Clarke Service Center boasts some very enthusiastic donors, including Daniel Cash, pictured here giving double red cells.

Regular donor Daniel Cash accounted for one of the four double red cell donations at the March drive. “My O-positive blood is good for infants,” he said. Daniel also admitted to another motivating factor: at the H.O. Clarke Service Center, employees are granted a “low-key” afternoon if they donate. Unless something urgent comes up, they don’t have to return to the field that day. Blood drive chairperson Cheryl Jackson also provides a hearty lunch for her staff at each blood drive.

Cheryl has been a blood donor since 1979, and she became more supportive than ever after receiving blood in 2005.  “It makes me appreciate the people who donate,” she said. “The people here are really good about donating. They are all very dedicated. I remember how sick I was and if it wasn’t for that blood I wouldn’t be here. The only way to get it is by the goodness of the people who give back, who give of themselves.”

If you would like more information about hosting a blood drive, please call us at (713) 791-6670 or e-mail If you are a blood drive chairperson and would like more information about adding automation to your drives, please contact your Blood Center Account Representative.

Injured Marine Inspires Houston Blood Donors

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Yesterday, our friends at the Houston Museum of Natural Science held a blood drive, collecting 28 units in honor of Staff Sgt. Timothy Brown, a Marine who was seriously injured in Afghanistan. Brown received a Purple Heart on Feb. 23, personally awarded by President Barack Obama.

Timothy’s mother, Barbara Brown, works at the museum, and this is what she had to say about the outpouring of community support for her son:

“Everyone has so generously offered to help Tim, and your support and prayers have helped tremendously. One tangible thing we could all do is donate blood. Tim has received so many transfusions that his original blood has been replaced by donor blood, and he’ll need more with the continuing surgeries. What we each donate will not go directly to Tim, but will go to help others, just as other donors are helping him.”

We were touched by this eloquent, personal appeal for blood donations. Many people give blood for the first time because someone they know is a recipient, and Barbara’s positive outlook reminds us why it’s important to keep giving freely to help anyone in need.

What inspires you to Commit for Life?

Monday, January 17th, 2011

ContinueTheCommitmentBetween Jan. 1 and March 31, The Blood Center encourages you to share your story with us through the “Continue the Commitment” promotion. If you have a story to share about why you Commit for Life or how blood donors have helped you, we encourage you to share it with us

Recently, the tragic story of Fort Bend Sheriff’s Deputy John Norsworthy inspired hundreds of Houstonians to donate blood. Deputy Norsworthy died on Jan. 4, due to complications from his December car accident, but during his week in the hospital, we saw an outpouring of community support in the form of blood donations. As doctors worked to try to save his life, Deputy Norsworthy received multiple units of blood. Determined to do something to help, hundreds in the greater Houston area turned out to donate blood in Norsworthy’s name. Because of their support, more than 650 units of blood were donated in Deputy Norsworthy’s honor.

Deputy Norsworthy’s story touched the hearts of many, including those who knew him well, and others who first heard his name when his accident was reported in the news. On a daily basis, more than 1,000 units of blood are needed to help patients like Deputy Norsworthy in the Texas Gulf Coast region. Blood donations take about 24 hours to process, and when a major medical emergency occurs, blood must be available immediately to transfuse to the patient. To ensure that an adequate supply of blood is always available for patients like Deputy Norsworthy, The Blood Center asks everyone who is eligible to Commit for Life by donating blood once a quarter.

While many people are inspired to donate blood when a heartbreaking story is publicized, it’s equally important to make a regular habit of donating for all of the anonymous patients that need blood every day. We hope that the many donors who gave blood in Deputy Norsworthy’s honor are inspired to become Commit for Life donors and continue giving blood once a quarter. To learn more about becoming a Commit for Life blood donor, or to find a donor center near you, please visit

Willowridge High School Blood Drive Collects 119 Units in Honor of Student’s 6-Month-Old Sister

Monday, January 10th, 2011
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Romisha Ashley, Lynell Davis and Rylee Davis at the blood drive held in Rylee’s honor at Willowridge High School.

Students at Willowridge High School know how to start the year off right. On Friday, Jan. 7, the Willowridge ROTC held a blood drive in the school gym, collecting 119 units in honor of 16-year-old Romisha Ashley’s 6-month-old sister, Rylee Davis. At just 3 months of age, Rylee underwent open heart surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital.

“If someone hadn’t already donated, then she wouldn’t have the blood,” said Rylee’s mother, Lynell Davis. When Rylee was born she weighed a mere four pounds and 13 ounces; she caught pneumonia twice before undergoing open heart surgery, during which she received blood. The blood collected at the drive will help other patients like Rylee, who is now 6 months old and healthy, thanks in large part to the donors who gave blood in the days before her surgery.

During the blood drive, a visibly happy and thriving Rylee charmed the students who came to give blood in her honor. Her older sister, Romisha Ashley, is a student at Willowridge High School and a member of the Willowridge ROTC, which hosted the blood drive with Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center.

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Romisha Ashley smiles as she donates blood for the first time.

“[Rylee’s] sister is one of my cadets, and one of the things we teach in ROTC is family,” said Master Gunnery Sergeant Raymond Claiborne, Senior Military Instructor at Willowridge High School. “We’re committed to her, and giving blood saves lives, so altogether, holding a blood drive was a no-brainer.”

During the drive, ROTC students manned the sign-in and refreshment tables, making sure that all 16-year-old donors had signed parental consent forms, and that all who donated received adequate fluids before leaving the gym.

One of the 16-year-old donors giving blood for the first time was Ashley. “I’m a little bit nervous, but I’m still happy because I’m doing it for her,” she said, with a big smile in her little sister’s direction. “It pretty much shows how important it is to donate blood.”

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