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OP Headlines: UCOP blood drive is a success

In the last ten years, the staff at UCOP’s Franklin Street building have donated enough blood to save more than 6,000 lives. That’s a pretty astounding figure – one that continues to grow. At a Feb. 25 blood drive sponsored by the American Red Cross, UCOP staff gave another 49 pints.

Link spoke with organizer Jan Kehoe, the Assistant Director of Operations in the Office of the Treasurer, about how she got involved in organizing the blood drives, and why  it’s so important to donate.

How did you start coordinating the drives?

My co-workers and I used to donate at the Kaiser Center, but when we moved to the Franklin Building, we learned there wasn’t a blood drive taking place here. We knew plenty of people in Franklin would be interested in donating, so I contacted the Red Cross and UCOP’s HR department, and got the OK to have our first Franklin Street blood drive. The first drive had 43 donors and 29 pints of blood were collected. Since then, we’ve held a drive five times a year.

Do you get any help?

I do all the contact work with the Red Cross and with EBMUD — we need approval to use their street curb —but other people help publicize the blood drives, including Karen Vecchi, Jesus Loo and Nina Costales.

Why is this work important to you?

I’ve embraced it because it’s something so easy to do that can make such a difference for somebody.  It doesn’t cost anything to donate, except about an hour of your time.  I once read something written by a young lady whose brother had a bad accident and needed a lot of blood during surgery.  She was impressed that all the bags of blood were labeled: VOLUNTEER DONOR. Those donations helped to save his life.

How important are the donations?

Blood can’t be manufactured – it can only come from generous donors. Thirty-eight percent of the population is eligible to donate but only eight percent of eligible donors do; and in the Bay Area that number is below five percent. According to the Red Cross, someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds, and more than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day. The Red Cross website is an excellent source of information on the need for blood.

How much blood have UCOP employees donated over the years?

UCOP employees have donated about 2,070 pints since 2000. The Red Cross says that each donation saves 3 lives, which means UCOP has helped save about 6,200 lives. That’s an incredible number!

How long does it take to give blood?

I usually tell people to block off about an hour for the whole process. Sometimes it takes a little less time, sometimes a little longer.  There’s a health history that has to be done each time.  And there’s a mini-physical—they take your temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and test a little blood from your finger for iron content.  It’s actually a good thing for donors — you get your blood pressure taken on a regular basis!

The actual time it takes to fill the bag ranges from donor to donor— anywhere from five minutes to 20 minutes. After you give blood, you have to stay about 10 minutes to make sure you’re OK before you leave. And of course, you get to eat cookies and drink juice while you’re waiting.

Should staff sign up to give blood, or can they just show up at the bloodmobile? Appointments help the process flow better and help get donors in and out in an hour. We take two appointments every 15 minutes from 8:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. We’re pretty successful at that, so we can’t usually take walk-ins.

Do you have to work at UCOP to donate?

No. If staff have friends or family that work in the area, they are welcome to sign up also.

Does it hurt to donate blood?

It’s true that it may sting a little, but if you compare it to the pain that the recipient goes through, the sting is bearable. Don’t be afraid to donate: Knowing that you helped save lives will make up for the small needle prick.

Anything else you’d like to share?

We are always looking for new donors and the Red Cross is especially in need of more minority donors.
If you would like to donate, please contact me at or 987-9692.

Upcoming Blood Drives:

February 25
May 11
July 15
September 29
December 15

Comment ( 1 )

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  1. Chris Orr March 3, 2010 Reply

    What Jan Kehoe modestly neglects to mention when she says donors get to “eat cookies” is that she hand bakes dozens of cookies of all kinds for the donors and staff of the blood mobile to enjoy. Jan Kehoe is not only an excellent organizer of these successful blood drives, but she is an awesome baker. Lemon bars, chocolate chip, oatmeal-nut-raisin, snickerdoodles, fudge cookies, oh my!

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