Scottsdale/Northeast Valley United Blood Services MAX donors were honored April 24 for providing 14,594 blood components for Arizona patients last year.
An elite group of heroes, the 5,209 MAX donors each spent about two hours per visit to donate platelets up to 24 times during the year.
Platelets are collected through an automated process and are the smallest, most perishable component of whole blood that is most-often required by cancer and leukemia patients.
Those who donated at least four times during 2014 were treated to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ game with a ballpark dinner on April 24. The top donors were invited on the field during the pregame ceremony to be honored by the D-backs and thanked with a special video message from AZ-TV.
A special award was given to Linda Cleary of Scottsdale, the “MAX Donor of the Year” for the Scottsdale Donor Center. She was nominated by United Blood Services center staff for her dedication to providing the gift of life, while inspiring others to follow in her footsteps. As a self-driven ambassador for blood donation, she was also honored with a star named after her.
What may first strike others about Linda is her style. The Scottsdale Donor Center staff calls her a “fashionista.” She even dresses up for her donations to reflect the spirit of the holidays, such as Christmas-themed attire or showing up as a witch for Halloween.
Ms. Cleary has been a regular donor since 2000 and has made her bi-weekly platelet donation a top priority. She always books her next appointment before she leaves her current one and she is never late.
With one of the highest platelet cell counts in the center, she enthusiastically gave 24 double donations last year. She has an infectious upbeat personality and doesn’t miss an opportunity to make friends with other donors.
The Scottsdale staff says “she has a personality that people are drawn to – very fun!”
Donors in Scottsdale and the Northeast Valley who gave the maximum allowable number of times during 2014 based on their donation type include:
Scottsdale: Kevin Bergner, Robert Brost, Jeffrey Clark, Dennis Heindl, Bradley Lagers, Aaron Ling, Franklin Martinson, Allen Pokorski, Warren Riggers, Timothy Schwimer, Keith Troxler, Kenneth Voss and Dirk Walter.
Cave Creek: Deborah Bello, Michael Rice, John Warner and Frederick Weninger.
Fountain Hills: Michael Hashimoto.
Paradise Valley: William Chuchro and Robert Keasler.
“MAX donors allow the combination of patient need, their blood type and physical attributes determine what kind of donation they give, allowing us to choose the right procedure each time they come in,” said Audrey Jennings, regional executive director for United Blood Services/Arizona.
“Because of their dedication as donors, thousands of lives have been saved in Arizona hospitals.”
New and innovative technologies are ever changing how blood components are used to save patients’ lives. Traditional whole blood donations provided a mixture of red cells, plasma and platelets – each of which served a different type of patient.
Automated MAX donations enable United Blood Services to isolate and collect an increased quantity of one of those components, while the remaining components are returned to the donor.
Most MAX donations take a smaller blood volume from the donor than in whole blood donations, but make a bigger impact by providing increased quantities of the component most needed by hospital patients.
In the past, one complete transfusion for a patient often required platelets from about 10 whole blood donors.
The UBS network is one of the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit blood service organizations, and is a founding member of America’s Blood Centers and the American Association of Blood Banks.
For more information on how to Find the Hero in You, call 1-877-UBS-HERO (1-877-827-4376) toll-free or visit www.UnitedBloodServicesAZ.org.