Vitalant Blood Drive: Nonprofit Urges Community to Donate This Summer

Posted on July 10, 2024 at 6:00 am

Guest post by Audrey Yaeger

Vegetables ripen, daydreams beckon, and the hammock looks more inviting by the minute. Summer’s a good time to reflect and remember that our neighbors, friends, and familiar faces at community spaces depend on each other in good times and bad.

A safe and available blood supply affects all of us, even if we don’t think about the possibility that we or those we love could need blood at any time. Vitalant, your community nonprofit blood organization, urges you to make donating blood a priority on your to-do list this summer.

Blood donations are important because, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs and receives a blood transfusion. This lifesaving blood is provided by a mere 3% of eligible donors, although over 60% of the population is eligible to donate blood. That’s very few of us taking care of so many!

Our community needs more people to donate blood and help with this life-giving donation. Summer is an important time to give an hour to donate blood and provide a critical need and hope to someone who finds themselves surprised by a need for blood.

And after your blood donation, I encourage you to take some time to relax in a hammock, on the patio, or at a campground knowing you’ve made a difference. Having a book in hand to read is a good idea as well!

If you’re ready to sign up for our upcoming blood drives at Spokane Valley Library, you can skip down to that section below.

Vitalant donor Brian
Brian, blood donor and recipient

Donor & Recipient Story: Brian

Brian, who lives in Spokane, donated blood regularly and was an experienced cyclist, riding forty miles the week before experiencing a near fatal aortic dissection. His type O-negative blood can go to anyone in need and is currently in short supply along with platelets.

“I have donated blood since I was a teenager. During my time in the hospital, I received many units of blood, without which I would not have survived. It’s an hour of your time to save a life,” Brian shares.

Save Our Summer

There are two seasons, in general, when it is difficult to collect blood. One is winter holidays with the onset of cold and flu. The other is summer because people are traveling and not available to donate blood, and schools that host regular blood drives are on break. But the need for blood never takes a break.

Accidents happen. Surgeries get scheduled. Cancer diagnoses occur. Babies arrive, and some along with childbirth complications.

Vitalant strives to collect around 200–250 donations each day to save the lives of patients in our community and beyond. The typical need in our community for blood and its components rises during the summer months due to an increase in traumatic injuries and elective surgeries that may require blood transfusions.

Blood Components

There are issues unique to the blood supply, and there is no artificial substitute.

Each blood component comes with a ‘use by’ date—blood expires! Thus, the need for constant replenishment is always a factor.

In general, people donate whole blood but can also donate platelets and plasma. Whole blood donations deliver red cells that carry oxygen, which is especially helpful for those with major blood loss through traumatic injuries, internal bleeding, or post-childbirth hemorrhaging. A Power Red donation can provide multiple therapeutic doses of red cells for more than one patient. A red cell donation has a shelf life of 42 days.

Platelets help with clotting and help cancer patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Platelets must be used within seven days of donation. Plasma, the liquid portion of blood, carries all the other parts of your blood and contains specific factors helpful to your immune system and overall functioning of the blood system. Plasma can be frozen for up to one year.

Patients’ needs, a donor’s blood type, and donor availability influence the type of donation they may make. All blood donations are valuable to patients in need.

Shay and her mom, Colleen, hosting the Pediatric Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Blood Drive with Vitalant
Shay and her mom, Colleen, hosting a blood drive

Recipient Story: Shay

Shay was born with a congenital heart defect. According to the American Heart Association, this kind of heart ailment is a defect or abnormality, not a disease. Shay’s family organizes an annual blood drive during February’s Pediatric Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week.

Congenital heart defects often require surgeries and in April of 2022, I was fortunate to receive a heart transplant,” Shay shares. “Through it all, I relied heavily on blood products to heal and survive. Thank you blood donors from the bottom of my brand-new heart!

Blood Donation 101

Most people are eligible to donate blood, even those with health conditions. There are many myths associated with blood donor ineligibility, such as traveling abroad, health history, medications, gender identity, sexual orientation, military service sites, body art, and more.

It’s important to note that eligibility to donate blood changes, and what may have been a deferral years ago is not a deferral today. The FDA issued a new health questionnaire in 2023 that is more inclusive to all who seek to donate blood regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

For more information about eligibility, you can visit or call 877.258.4825 (877.25.VITAL).

Vitalant logo

About Vitalant

Several years ago, Inland Northwest Blood Center (INBC) merged with Blood Systems and 10 other blood centers across the country and began operating under a new name, Vitalant (pronounced Vye-TAL-ent). Vitality is one of the critical benefits that blood brings to us, so Vitalant was created with that idea in mind.

Our local staff remains, though some may have gone on to new paths. Our mission is still to ensure blood for those in need.

As healthcare has changed across the nation, operating under one name has been good for the blood center and good for patients. Vitalant is still your local blood center serving nearly 30 hospitals in northeast Washington, Idaho, and Montana. One of the great advantages of being a national system with a strong local presence is that we are able to provide for patients at home even when local issues impact blood donation.  

Collectively, we all make a vital difference in helping the futures of individuals and families in our community.

Counting on Community

Vitalant works with regional blood donors, local hospitals, and community organizations like Spokane County Library District to coordinate the complex logistics of ensuring blood is available for whoever needs it, whenever it’s needed, during every season. Together, we can enjoy the summer season and by donating blood, help to ensure a better season for others.

Upcoming Blood Drives

Help us save lives this summer! Vitalant is hosting two blood drives for adults at Spokane Valley Library in July and August.

Vitalant Blood Drive
Vitalant Mobile Donation Center in the library parking lot

Tuesday, July 30, 10am–2pm | REGISTER

Thursday, August 15, 1–5pm | REGISTER

Audrey Yaeger, Account Manager at Vitalant

Audrey Yaeger is the Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake Account Manager at Vitalant. In this position, she works with community members and businesses to host blood drives. She loves going to local high schools to meet students and educate them on the importance of blood donation. In her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, and camping with her husband and puppy.

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