Mound blood drives honored

By Nicole Brodzik
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It’s one of the few things that hospitals depend almost entirely on donations for, and thanks to the Mound Westonka community, local hospitals were able to provide it for up to 317 patients in need. With drives happening at five locations in Mound throughout the year, the blood donated by the residents in and around the city are drawing praise from Memorial Blood Centers.

Memorial Blood Center (MBC) receives the blood from Mound Westonka drives and after going through the necessary tests, distributes it to hospitals like Children’s Minnesota and Ridgeway Medical Center in Waconia. Every year, MBC compiles a list of the top contributors based on the number of donations received and for the 2015 calendar year, Mound Westonka’s 317 donations landed them in the Top 20.

“We have a group of seven great coordinators who really put their hearts and souls into this,” MBC Donor Recruitment Coordinator Margaret Schneider said.

Those coordinators will be thanked, as will the community, on Sept. 22 during a drive at the American Legion in Mound. The drive itself runs from 12-6 p.m. and an award ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. MBC’s CEO will be giving a speech to thank the donors and coordinators, followed by cake and punch.

“We want to celebrate the hard work these coordinators are doing,” Schneider said. “We rely on people like this every day and are so grateful for all their hard work.”

Schneider said she knows just how important the donations are after getting in a car accident years ago and needed blood transfusions during treatment.

“Without that donated blood, I probably wouldn’t be here today,” she said. “You never know who’s life you’re going to save.”
And with the need for blood donations continuing, MBC and blood centers worldwide are dealing with smaller numbers coming in every year. According to Schneider, donations tend to come most often from older generations. As those people age, sometimes they aren’t allowed to donate blood as health conditions, like low blood pressure, make it unsafe to take their blood.

This is why getting donors to start giving blood at a young age has become a vital part of Mound Westonka’s success in recent years.

“They work really hard with the high school students at Mound Westonka High School,” Schneider said. “If you start contributing when you’re young, you tend to continue throughout your lifetime. That’s what we need to make up for the older generations not being able to give as much.”

For more information on Memorial Blood Center, visit http://www.mbc.org