In the short time I’ve been at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, I’ve met some fantastic people who are passionate about saving lives and serving our community. Today I want to introduce you to Anne, a component technician responsible for separating blood into its different components.
Anne is meticulous when she works with units of buffy coats that are sent out to researchers nationwide. (Buffy coats are a tiny fraction of blood that contains mostly white blood cells.)
The white blood cells in buffy coats, or source leukocytes, are used by doctors in a variety of research, from looking for a cure for cancer to studying how to eliminate food allergies.
“What if this is the one?” Anne thinks. “What if this is the one that helps cure cancer?”
Anne, who was recently promoted to Component Tech II, has worked for The Blood Center two years. Working in the Component Lab means being on your feet all day and is tough work, but in front of her clients and co-workers, Anne manages to remain positive and cheerful, always willing to learn new things. Her “WOW” service has earned her many notes of thanks from research clients, and she soon will learn how to train new coworkers by attending the Training for Trainers course.
She’s been passionate about collecting blood since she was student council treasurer of her high school in a small town in Missouri. Anne was the student in charge of the town’s only blood drive, which was conducted through the high school. She was mesmerized by the process.
Still, the daughter of jazz musicians and teachers, Anne took a detour before finding herself at The Blood Center. Her parents moved to the Houston area in 1994, and she moved to be near her family soon after.
Anne was personally familiar with the importance of donating blood. Her mom died after receiving chemotherapy to treat pancreatic cancer. In the last few months, her mom was dependent on blood products that gave her three more months with her family. Anne still gets emotional remembering that extra time. This is why in 2016, she applied here at The Blood Center.
So when she told a researcher for Japan about her mom, he was inspired.
“He was like ‘I’ve been in kind of a slump lately, and hearing that kind of helps me get back into what I really knew I needed to do,’” Anne remembered. “It’s really cool to talk to these people and find out what they’re doing, and I don’t think that a lot of people know that we do this.”
And that’s why Anne is meticulous at choosing the best possible products for distribution.
“What if that scientist is right on the edge of some amazing cure of some sort, or some of the scientists are on early detection — to detect cancer,” Anne said. “If somebody has a breakthrough with something, it could change everybody’s lives.”
|Your blood can help advance medical care
Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is working with a biotech company by providing mononuclear cells (also called T-cells or white blood cells) for work on COVID-19 and leukemia. That means you, me, or someone we know can contribute to groundbreaking work that could save countless lives.
|We knew y'all weren't mad
Nearly 500 people have been unable to give blood at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center this year because they were considered “at risk” for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. However, many now may be eligible to donate and save lives after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced in April it was loosening some of its regulations.
|Phlebotomist fights cancer
A phlebotomist at the Blood Center East Texas currently battling cancer, Fernando Ibarra is a hero in more ways than one. He’s worked for Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center just half a year, but his passion for our mission goes deeper than any typical job.
|Be the Match: Another way to save lives
Briana was a senior in high school and had been accepted to the University of Texas when she received a medical diagnosis that changed everything. While most high school seniors were preparing to go off to college, Briana was fighting for her life against a rare blood disorder, called severe aplastic anemia.
|Donors recovered from COVID-19 are helping others
The response from people who have overcome COVID-19 to Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s call for convalescent plasma has been amazing. We’ve seen a number of donors step up to help patients fighting the disease in local hospitals, and it’s beautiful to see our community come together for such an important reason.
|How to prepare for your next blood donation
Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is open by appointment only right now, and we want to make sure you’re in tip-top shape to give when you come in to see us. Good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle can help you save lives, so take advantage of these tips before your next opportunity to give blood.
|‘Superhero medicine’ and blood donors help save Owen’s life
Sarah was celebrating her son’s fourth birthday in 2018 when she had to excuse herself. While she had the video camera pointed at her young son’s face, Sarah couldn’t help thinking this birthday might be his last.
Owen was battling brain cancer for the second time.
Two years later, birthdays have become extra special at the Langston household.
This year on Feb. 26, we honor Dr. Reiss and her legacy through the first-ever Texas Bone Marrow, Blood, and Organ Donation Registry Day, established through the work of State Rep. Gene Wu and passed into law last year.
|Blood drives and homemade cookies save lives
The Blood Center depends on the passion of thousands of organizations across the Gulf Coast region to help us save lives. We need 800–1,000 donations a day to serve all of the patients in our community, and we couldn’t do it without businesses, high schools, colleges, churches and a slew of other organizations that work with us.
|Give the gift of platelets
It’s the most wonderful time of the year … to donate platelets! We have an urgent need for blood and platelet donations during the holidays, and blood donation is a great way for blood donors to spread Christmas cheer.
|What type of blood donation works for you?
Whole blood, platelets, red blood cells or plasma — you’ve got options when it comes to saving lives, and each donation has its benefits.
|Lone Star Circle of Life
Cole was one of several organ, stem cell and blood donors and recipients honored in the 2019 Lone Star Circle of Life Bike Tour. Fewer than 12 cyclists are chosen to participate in the biennial event, which lasts about a week. The tour stretched from Tyler to Waco to College Station to Katy to Victoria before ending in Corpus Christi.
|League of Heroes: Heal for Real appeals to gamers
I think it’s safe to say nobody was more psyched than Lance when The Blood Center partnered with Team Liquid for the Heal for Real campaign. Team Liquid is an international esports organization with more a fanbase of more than 7 million people. The campaign is aimed at the gamer community because healers can be a big part of winning attacks.
|Elephants need blood, too
At The Blood Center, we're all about saving lives — human or otherwise. So it was a big deal to hear that we had a small part in helping save the life of a baby elephant named Joy. Joy is an Asian elephant, a species classified as endangered with only an estimated 40,000 left in the world.
|What if this is the one that helps cure cancer?
Today I want to introduce you to Anne, a component technician responsible for separating blood into its different components.
|Be safe, healthy and well
Our blood donors are the best. That’s why we do everything we can to make sure they are safe and comfortable every time they come in to save lives. To truly have the best experience, though, donors should be prepared.
|Are You All In?
Some people get starstruck when meeting famous actors, while others want athletes to sign their memorabilia. My coworkers and I get excited when we get to meet real-life superheroes — people give their time because they believe they must help others if given the opportunity.
|5 reasons blood donors are the best
The generous spirit of our donors amazes me. There are countless ways to give back to your community, especially in this technological age. Google “ways to give back in the Houston area” and you’ll find long lists of the needs in society. It’s, quite frankly, overwhelming. But you, you’ve waded through all of that information to find the most selfless way to support the people around you.
|Why do you give blood?
Twelve students at the Thurgood Marshal School of Law already had signed up to give blood just one hour into their blood drive. It was amazing to see the heart of this high-achieving group taking time out of their studies with just weeks left in the semester to think about others.
|Becoming Wonder Woman
I am an unashamed fan of Wonder Woman. Family members reminisced about how I used to wrap a towel around my neck and run around the house singing the “Woman Woman” theme song. (No, that wasn’t a typo. My ability to get song lyrics wrong was apparent even at the young ages of 3 and 4.)
|You are powerful
Do you have any idea of the unbelievable power you have?
I was excited last summer to meet Shelley and her daughter, Courtney. The two were full of laughter and fun when Shelley came into our office for a photo shoot. Shelley is one of our long-time dedicated donors. She’s got that kind of giving spirit, and we were thrilled to capture a few photos of her.
|Netflix and save lives like a hero: Top 5 movie recommendations
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to help save more lives than ever in 2019. But those automated donations can take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half. Mine, in particular, lean more toward the hour-and-a-half territory. What’s a girl to do? Watch Netflix movies and donate. And because I’m so thankful for your willingness to help us save lives, here are my top five recommendations for January.
|Have you given a Holiday Hug?
One of the best parts of the Holiday Hugs tradition is reading the notes our donors write for patients in the hospital over the holidays. It’s not an easy task as each patient has his or her own individual circumstance, so we’re restricted in which cards we tie to each bear. Still, many of our donors are well up to the task.
|Every day, someone’s life is being saved.
By Tammie Riley
I learned something the other day. Every day, someone’s life is being saved. I know that seems obvious, but let that sink in. What may be a normal Thursday for most could be something completely different for someone else. And that’s exactly what happened to donor Gary Gilson. Aug. 16 was one of the most important moments in Gary’s life. Not only did he save lives that day, but someone else saved the life of his loved one, as well.
|Hospital tour highlights need
A 3-year-old girl lies in a hospital bed in the middle of the room with monitors attached to her bare chest. She’s awake, but she doesn’t lift her head as we walk into the room. Still, she follows us with her eyes. The only sound we hear from her is a small cough while a nurse comes in to check her stats.
|The Blood Center teams up with Sickle Cell Association of Houston
Blood transfusion is one treatment used to combat complications from sickle cell disease, a form of anemia most likely to affect people of African descent. Prince and her now 27-year-old daughter, Quannecia McCruse, founded the Sickle Cell Association of Houston years ago to educate and provide resources to the community.
|Drive and save lives
Penny, a local teacher with some free time over the summer, has helped us kick off our new Volunteer Driver program. Are you interested in joining us in our mission to save lives? Call us at (713) 791-6262 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Overcoming fear: Donating blood for the first time
I’m a scaredy-cat. I readily admit it. I hate needles. That’s always been my excuse for why I don’t volunteer for anything with a needle. Flu shot? No way. Vaccines? I still remember the sheer terror I felt from them growing up.
|We are always #HoustonStrong
We never know when the next tragedy will strike, but we have to be ready when it does come.
CYPRESS – There is nothing more American than baseball and saving lives. Everyone who participates in The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s Home Run for Life competition will get a chance at both through June 30.
|SuperMax is the hero Houston needs!
Max was born with a genetic disorder (neurofibromatosis type 1) that can cause tumors to grow on his nerve endings, and SuperMax has been his alter ego ever since.
|Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center mourns Barbara Bush
Barbara Bush helped save lives in our community, and we celebrate her lifetime of accomplishments. The former First Lady set the bar high in her commitment to helping others.
|Dr. Charles Drew: A Blood Banking Pioneer
Here at The Blood Center, we pride ourselves on being an organization of diversity. We work together to save and sustain lives, and we each bring a unique perspective when it comes to fulfilling our mission.
|Tying the knot and saving lives
Hurricane Harvey destroyed homes, cars and many other things, but one thing it couldn’t destroy is the compassion for others in newlywed couple Gilbert and Stefanie Cruz. Gilbert and Stefanie were set to get married just a few days after Harvey passed, but due the storm’s aftermath they had to alter all of their plans on a moment’s notice.
|Blood on ambulances helps EMS agencies save more lives
Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center has partnered with two local agencies providing emergency medical services to help save more lives when time is of the essence, now administering whole blood to patients on the ground.
|Donor coaches hit the road sporting new look, features
In the last two years, five of The Blood Center's donor coaches have been refurbished. Find out why this is such an important process.
|Circle of Life Bike Tour celebrates life
The Lone Star Circle of Life bike tour visits Texas cities to raise awareness of the need for blood, marrow, organ and tissue donations to honor those impacted by these donation types. This year’s eight-day, 600-mile tour included stops in Houston and College Station.