Hospital tour highlights need

Committed Hearts

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.Her dad sits alone on a bench by the window. Her mom is at home with their other children and they have no other family in the area. It’s a common scene for my colleague Mike Norman, whose job at the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center includes visiting hospitals in the area, explaining what we do for families and asking them if they’d like to host a blood drive in honor of their loved one.

But this is my first hospital tour, and I am heartbroken.

We’re on a floor filled with children who are scheduled to receive a bone marrow transfusion. Before you can enter the patient area, everyone must stop in a small lobby to scrub their hands for half a minute. At The Blood Center, we learn to sing our “A, B, C’s”  or the “Happy Birthday” song twice while washing our hands. There are hand sanitizer stations outside each hospital room and visitors must rub some onto their hands when entering and leaving the room.

In one 13-year-old girl’s room, we must also don Mickey Mouse-themed facial masks. She’s watching YouTube videos in bed on her phone while her mother wipes down a counter with disinfectant. The young girl wears black, thick-framed glasses and is bald. She has leukemia. Her mom does not speak English, and Mike asks the teen if she can translate for him. She gamely agrees with a bright smile.

In moments such as this, Mike explains to the mom through her young interpreter, people at the girl’s school or church often want to help, but they don’t know how. He suggests they host a blood drive in the girl’s honor. The mom says the teen is being homeschooled while she’s in and out of treatment, and Mike suggests the school she last attended still may want to help. The mom readily agrees, giving Mike authorization to use her daughter’s name and promising to send a photo for a flier Mike will send out to promote the drive at two Neighborhood Donor Centers near where the family lives.

The teen herself has been given blood transfusions thanks to the selfless acts of strangers, who gave up their time to donate. And because of this brave young girl and her mother, more lives are going to be saved.

If you would like to schedule a blood drive in a loved one’s honor, please email RTN@giveblood.org or call (713) 791-6670.

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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

The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center partnered with the Sickle Cell Association of Houston to host a blood drive Sept. 15 in recognition of Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month.

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 volunteering@giveblood.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. 

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Dr. Charles Drew: A Blood Banking Pioneer

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Tying the knot and saving lives

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Blood on ambulances helps EMS agencies save more lives

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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.

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Blood Center Resources

Our mission is to partner with the community to save and sustain lives by providing a safe supply of blood, blood components and related services.

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1400 La Concha Lane
Houston, TX 77054

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