At a time when camping trips and swimming lessons often distract consistent blood donors from continuing to donate, the Puget Sound Blood Center launched a new project to encourage people to not just give blood this summer, but give twice.
The “Give Twice” program asks people to donate once between June 15 and Aug. 9, and a second time between Aug. 10 and Oct. 4. The periods start and end 56 days apart, the amount of time one must wait to donate again.
Duane Koberg, a Sammamish resident, will definitely be giving twice this summer. Over the past 30 years, Koberg has donated 122 times, usually only waiting the necessary eight weeks before making another appointment.
“I’m not a fireman, I’m not a policeman, I’m not a paramedic. This way, everybody can save a life,” Koberg said.
While donations often drop at this time of the year, injuries requiring blood transfusions increase, said Michael Young, director of communications for the center.
“During the summer, victims of trauma go up 20 percent, so there’s a greater demand for blood,” Young said. “It happens every summer and in the holidays during December and January.”
The objective of “Give Twice” is to ensure that the Puget Sound Blood Center can maintain an even blood supply throughout the season.
“We are operational right now but we’re trying to avoid having a shortfall later in the summer,” Young said.
Because the blood center is the largest transfusion service in the world, their need is extraordinary.
“It takes approximately 900 people every weekday registering to donate blood to meet the demand of Western Washington,” Young said.
In order to push potential donors even more, the Blood Center is giving cookbooks to all who give twice. Puget Sound Blood Center employees and volunteers submitted all of the recipes.
“Our donor and volunteer resources department came up with the idea that the cookbook would be a nice way to say ‘Thank you,’” Young said.
The Blood Center is going to extra lengths to remind people to take the time and stop by a blood drive this summer.
“It falls to the bottom of the list, and we just need to remind people that it’s still important,” Young said.
Koberg emphasized the convenience of donating.
“If there’s a chance that a pint of my blood can help save a life, it’s worth it. It’s painless and it’s reasonably quick,” he said.
And the free refreshments don’t hurt.
“That’s the other reason I donate,” Koberg said. “The cookies are great.”