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A donation for life

Volunteer blood donors are always in demand. This is not a need that crops up only when there is a tragedy like the recent fires in San Bruno. From cancer to accidents and a million reasons in between, there is a constant medical need for blood donations.

The fires in San Bruno have escalated the local need for blood donations. You can help by making an appointment to donate at OP’s next blood drive, scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 22, from 8:15 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. It is the 50th OP blood drive.

  • Where – Red Cross Bloodmobile at 11th Street, between Franklin and Webster Streets – East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) building
  • Contact – Jan Kehoe, (510) 987-9692 or

Regular donors are the cornerstones of emergency preparedness. Blood banks must be ready for emergencies like the San Bruno fires at a moment’s notice. Northern California in particular can benefit from your commitment to regular donations; local blood banks often have to bring blood in from across the country because they don’t get enough blood donations to meet our area’s needs. You can keep abreast of the regular OP blood drives by reading Link and checking the OP events calendar.

If you can’t make OP’s blood drive, contact the American Red Cross Center, Blood Centers of the Pacific or the Irwin Memorial Blood Center (415-749-6600, 270 Masonic Avenue, San Francisco) to give a donation. You can also contact your local hospital for recommendations. Visit the American Red Cross Center to find out where there is a nearby mobile blood drive.

What if it was you in need?

Your donation makes a vital difference. “Some day, I may have to depend on someone being thoughtful enough to participate in a blood drive,” said Nina Costales, high school articulation analyst in Student Affairs, who is a frequent donor. “In the meantime, I will do my part to help others.”

A vehicle accident was the impetus for Nina starting her tradition of donating blood more than 20 years ago. “When in college, my house mate’s brother-in-law was in a serious truck wreck. We learned that we could help reduce the hospital costs for the family by donating blood in the patient’s name. This single event made me aware that I could do something to help others, even if I didn’t know them,” she said.

Emily Montan, Design and Construction analyst for Budget and Capital Resources, has been donating blood for many years. “It’s so easy and I enjoy the Red Cross staff. Jan Kehoe’s treats afterwards are a real plus but I would continue to give regardless,” she said. [Jan is kind enough to provide baked goods at OP’s blood drives. Click here to get her recipe for scrumptious chocolate macaroon squares.]

“I donate for several reasons; first, because I can and blood is a lot less expensive than giving money. Second, I do it because my husband suffers from a disease that has no cure but is treated with transfusions. Finally, I do it because our blood banks are in short supply. If I ever need blood, I worry that it may not be available,” Emily explained.

During the catastrophe in San Bruno there were urgent requests for blood donations, especially O negative. “O negative blood is called the universal type. This particular type is more common in the African American community. My husband has this blood type. (He is Swedish and Scottish). It is very hard to get blood for him. I have to watch his health degrade significantly before his doctor is willing to state that the transfusion is a medical necessity,” Emily told us.

She gave the following advice. “It is important for everyone to realize these important facts: All donation needles are new so you can’t contract any blood diseases like hepatitis or AIDS. You don’t have to look at the needle or the blood and the beds are very comfortable in the blood mobile. It takes less than an hour to give and your donation is worth its weight in gold. If you’re squeamish, ask a blood donor to help you through the process – it becomes easier and easier with ‘practice’.”

Contact Jan Kehoe at (510) 987-9692 or to make your appointment to donate on Sept. 22 and get more information.

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