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  • Mon, October 29, 2018 9:39 AM | Steve Bolton (Administrator)

    Source: www.fda.gov/newsroom October 11, 2018

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved ID CORE XT, a molecular-based assay used in blood transfusion medicine to help determine blood compatibility. The assay can be used to determine blood donor and patient non-ABO red blood cell (RBC) types. ID CORE XT is the second molecular assay approved for use in transfusion medicine, and the first to report genotypes as final results.

    “The approval of the ID CORE XT Test can streamline blood compatibility testing and provides an additional alternative to testing blood with antisera,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “We know that DNA testing holds great promise – to provide more informative, accurate and cost-effective methods that can enhance patient care.”

    Human blood can be classified into different groups based on the antigens on the surfaces of red blood cells. In addition to the ABO blood group antigens, the presence or absence of other specific blood group antigens can be important when matching blood for transfusions since some people develop antibodies to non-ABO antigens. People who receive repeated blood transfusions, such as individuals with sickle cell disease, are more likely to develop these antibodies. If red blood cells with poorly matched non-ABO antigens are transfused, red blood cell destruction and a transfusion reaction can occur in a transfusion recipient.

    Traditionally, red blood cell antigens have been identified using serological methods that involve the use of antisera, a blood serum that contains antibodies for testing. Serologic testing presents limitations and certain antisera may be scarce or unavailable.

    A study was conducted to compare the typing results of the ID CORE XT Test with licensed serological reagents, the first FDA-approved molecular assay, and DNA sequencing tests. The results demonstrated comparable performance between the methods.

    The approval of the ID CORE XT Test was granted to Progenika Biopharma S.A., a Grifols company.

    The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.



  • Tue, June 26, 2018 7:56 AM | Steve Bolton (Administrator)

    The American Rare Donor Program (ARDP) is a cooperative program of the American Red Cross and the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). The ARDP exists to ensure that patients with rare blood needs can find matching rare blood when they need it. A person’s blood is considered rare if only one in 1,000 or more individuals lack the same antigen as that individual. If only one in 10,000 or more people lack the same antigen then that individual’s blood is considered very rare. The rarer a person’s blood type, the more difficult the circumstances if that person suddenly needs matched blood for a transfusion. The ARDP strives to make sure that rare blood is available for anyone in need.

    In the 1960’s the American Red Cross and the American Association of Blood Banks developed registries of rare donors to supply patients in need of rare blood. The two rare donor registries were merged into one, resulting in an ARDP database of more than 80,000 rare donors in the United States. These individuals can be contacted by a local ARDP member facility if their rare blood is needed. If rare blood cannot be located domestically, international recruitment of donors with rare blood can also be an option.

    An example of how important and effective the ARDP members can be in supplying patients’ needs was demonstrated over a 12-month period in 2016 and 2017 in support of two patients who required Group O blood negative for the Vel antigen. During this 12-month period, the ARDP was able to source 122 rare blood units for these two patients. Forty of these units were liquid units and 72 were frozen units provided by multiple ARDP member facilities across the nation. During this time, one ARDP member facility was successful in encouraging a donor in its area, who had not donated since 2004, to donate a unit of blood to support this rare blood request. Another donor in the ARDP registry responded to a recruitment email the same day it was received, decided to donate and the donated unit was shipped to the patient’s facility within five days of the donor’s response to the email plea. The ARDP recognizes the extraordinary commitment and recruitment of rare donors by the following ARDP members in support of these patients:

    Blood Center of Wisconsin

    BonFils Blood Center

    Blood Systems Laboratories (UBS)

    Carolinas Durham Red Cross

    Central Ohio Red Cross

    Community Blood Center of Kansas City

    Dayton Community Blood Center

    Great Lakes Red Cross

    Heart of America Red Cross

    Hoxworth Blood Center


    Innovative Blood Resources

    LifeShare Blood Centers

    Lewis and Clark Red Cross

    Massachusetts Red Cross

    Mid-Atlantic Red Cross

    Miller-Keystone Blood Center

    New York Penn Red Cross

    North Central Red Cross

    Northeast Pennsylvania Red Cross

    Northern California Red Cross

    Northern Ohio Red Cross

    OneBlood – Ft Lauderdale

    OneBlood – St Petersburg

    Pacific Northwest Red Cross

    Penn-Jersey Red Cross

    San Diego Blood Bank

    Southern Region Red Cross

    Southern California Red Cross

    Southwest Region Red Cross

    In the event that rare blood is not available domestically, international recruitment efforts can be undertaken. The ARDP successfully imported eleven units of Group O, Vel negative blood from France, Spain and Switzerland to support these two patient’s rare blood needs. The ARDP would like to acknowledge the efforts of the National Institute of Blood Transfusion (INTS) in France, Interregionale Blutspende, SRC in Switzerland and Centro de Transfusion Comunidad in Spain in supporting our endeavor to source units for these patients.

    Submitted by Dexter Facey, Manager, American Rare Donor Program


  • Mon, June 04, 2018 8:42 AM | Steve Bolton (Administrator)

    Each year on June 14, the international blood community joins together to celebrate blood donors. This year, World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) holds special significance to the Capitol Hill community as it is the anniversary of the shooting at the congressional baseball practice. During that terrible event, several individuals suffered significant injuries, including U.S. House of Representatives Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who required blood transfusions to save his life. In his words, “without blood drives…, I wouldn’t be here today, so please consider giving.”

    To recognize the importance of blood donation, members of the Republican and Democrat congressional baseball teams have joined together in a bipartisan, bicameral effort to promote WBDD, blood donors, and the vital work of independent blood centers. Specifically, the members of Congress listed below have sent a letter to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate encouraging their colleagues “to visit their local blood center during the recess the week after 6/14 to learn more about the continuous need for blood donation and to support their life-saving work.” To support this effort, we encourage you to utilize the enclosed letter to inform members of Congress who represent your center(s) of this effort and invite them to visit your facility. This is an ideal time for you to promote the value you bring to your communities and the overall healthcare system. You can find the legislators that represent your center(s) by zip code via the ABC Action Center. A list of staff contacts for each congressional office can be found here. Please note that you should only contact legislators in areas where you have a center presence.

    In addition to the letter that is circulating over the next two weeks, Representatives John Shimkus (R-IL), Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Kevin Brady (R-TX) will deliver statements on the House floor recognizing WBDD and the importance of blood donation on June 12. We will make sure ABC members receive a video of their remarks.

    ABC is here to assist you in this effort in any way possible and hope you will contact us with any questions. We will also send information to all congressional offices encouraging them to visit their local blood center and assist in connecting them to the center in their area.

    Please contact ABC with any questions at kfry@americasblood.org or (202) 654-2911.

    Congressional Letter Authors: 1. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) 2. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) 3. Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) 4. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) 5. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) 6. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) 7. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) 8. Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI) 9. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) 10. Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) 11. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) 12. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) 13. Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) 14. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) 15. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) 16. Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) 17. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA)

    Access this and other MCNs and ABC documents anytime, from anywhere at https://members.americasblood.org.

    Sample Congressional Letter:

    United States [Senate/House of Representatives] 

    Office Address 

    City, State, Zip Code

    Dear Senator/Representative [last name]:

    On behalf of [name of organization], a non-profit independent blood center in your community, I invite you to visit one of our donor facilities during an upcoming congressional recess to learn more about the importance of blood donation.

    Every year on June 14, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The event serves to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood and to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations. More than seven million Americans choose to voluntarily donate blood each year to meet the need for more than 11 million blood transfusions. A robust blood supply is required for acute care needs and to help patients suffering from lifethreatening conditions live longer and with a higher quality of life.

    This year, World Blood Donor Day holds special significance as the anniversary of last year’s shooting at the congressional baseball practice. To recognize the importance of blood donation, members of the Republican and Democrat congressional baseball teams have joined together in a bipartisan, bicameral effort to promote World Blood Donor Day, and the vital work of independent blood centers. Specifically, a Dear Colleague letter is circulating encouraging all members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate “to visit their local blood center during the recess the week after 6/14 to learn more about the continuous need for blood donation and to support their life-saving work.”

    We hope you will learn more about the vital role of a safe and adequate blood supply in your community by visiting one of our donor facilities during the next month. To confirm your visit, please contact [your name, title, phone number and email address]. Thank you for your attention to this important issue. Sincerely,

    [Your Name] [Your Title]

    Tips for a Successful Donor Center Visit For Internal Blood Center Use Only

    Identify a host - The host will be the spokesperson on the day of the event and should be well prepared to discuss the role of the blood center in your community as well as the industry’s advocacy priorities.

    Work with your center’s Public Relations department - The blood center may want to invite print, radio or television reporters to cover the donor center visit. ABC can also assist with the media effort. - Invited participants should be made aware of any invitations extended to the press. In all likelihood, the legislator will be pleased to have press coverage and may assist in efforts to publicize the event.

    Select a participant - Consult with ABC as necessary to determine which legislators to invite. - Although an ideal participant is a legislator who has influence over health issues, all legislators can benefit from this program regardless of their committee assignments.

    Once your participant has been selected - Extend a personal invitation to visit one of your donor centers. - If the participant is a legislator, call the legislative office and follow-up with a written invitation outlining details of the program. Invite the legislator’s key health aide to participate as well. - Recognize that legislators, like blood bankers, are extremely busy and their schedules change daily. Clarify how much time the legislator will be able to spend at your center to know how to structure the visit. - Consider pre-screening any legislator that wants to donate blood as part of their visit. During the Site Visit - Begin the visit with an introduction by the participating blood center staff and an overview of what the participant will observe. - Take every opportunity to discuss the issues important to your blood center. - Use the time to show the participant the full range of work conducted by your blood center, and why and how the blood centers’ efforts are important to the community and the broader healthcare system. - Schedule some time at the end of the visit to discuss any additional advocacy items and respond to any questions the participant may have.

    After the Site Visit - Send a thank you note to the participant(s). - Send the participant and ABC copies of any photographs or press clippings about his or her participation in the program.

  • Mon, May 14, 2018 7:46 AM | Steve Bolton (Administrator)

    Each year, time is set aside at the ADRP Annual Conference to honor individuals, groups and organizations that have demonstrated outstanding service, accomplishments or leadership in the donor experience profession.

    Award winners receive a complimentary registration to our annual ADRP conference, a commemorative award and recognition on the ADRP website as well as in our newsletter, the Drop.

    The 2018 ADRP Awards of Excellence were presented at an awards breakfast on Friday, May 11, 2018 at the ADRP Annual Conference in Dallas, TX.  The winners were:

    Donor Recruiter of the Year Award - Elizabeth Morales, from the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center

    When Liz started working at the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, she looked at it as just another job.  But it quickly became far more, and three years into it, she considers it even more than a career. She is on a mission.

    “My job has a purpose,” she says. “Every day, I am actually doing something to help saves lives.”

    Liz shares her passion and sense of mission with the companies she works with to develop and execute successful blood drives.  She often connects partnering businesses with local patients who are benefiting from blood donations, which has resulted in many of her blood drives exceeding goals.  This approach provides the connection essential to motivating donors and non-donors to step up, particularly if they don’t otherwise have a personal reason for donating blood. 

    Liz has exceeded her territory goal for the past 15 months in a row.  The number of units collected in 2017 represents an 8.5 percent increase over 2016.  In working with a local pizza restaurant Big Lou’s, she facilitated a grassroots, community response that generated 250 units.  Encouraged by that success, the group has signed up to host an additional visit each year.   

    Liz continues to strive and achieve the goals set in front of her by her management team but says she has personal goals as well.  Her passion for her work as a donor recruiter only increased when her father became ill a year ago and needed blood.

    Liz said, “When I would see him get a transfusion, I knew I had played a role in him receiving that. Watching him receive the blood, I felt it had come full circle – it was my family in need now.”

    Media Partner Award - iHeart Media 107.9 WSRZ, SunCoast Blood Bank nominated by SunCoast Blood Bank in Sarasota, FL

    iHeart Media has been an advocate of blood donation in the SunCoast region for the past 12 years.  Their entire staff - from the general manager, to the promotion staff, to their on-air personalities – all support SunCoast in many ways.

    A key event that 107.9 WSRZ hosts each year is Pints for Play, hosted by their popular morning team. The station devotes an entire day to promote and raise awareness about the importance of blood donation.   Pints for Play is a 13-hour, commercial-free blood drive marathon. Suncoast uses a fixed site plus their fleet of eight bloodmobiles for the event, all at the same location. Every donor receives a song play of their choice or the opportunity to tape a 30 second spot promoting their business or special cause.  During the day, the station plays interviews with blood donors and blood recipients. The event has grown from collecting just short of 200 units its first year, to collecting almost 600 units at its 10th annual event, which was just held yesterday.

    iHeart’s support does not stop at Pints for Play. Three years ago, iHeart Media offered to sponsor a Corporate Challenge.  Each year, they offer a $10,000 advertising package to the organization able to generate the most blood donations. The challenge runs for four weeks and is heavily promoted. The campaign has resulted in many new accounts and even more awareness about the importance of blood drives in the community.

    iHeart Media supports SunCoast in other ways as well. If they are experiencing a shortage, all they have to do is call and they make appeals to the community for several days to help. They regularly banter on air about SunCoast throughout the year. They invite donors into the studio to share their stories and blood drive sponsors to promote high-profile drives. 

    This is a partnership that has endured and flourished with age and SunCoast couldn’t do what it does without their support.

    Rolf Kovenetsky Leader of the Year Award - Collections Supervisor, Manager or Director - Aubrey Oyler, United Blood Services in Rapid City, SD

    Aubrey has over 17 years of Donor Care experience.   Being a leader to Aubrey means passion for what she does and how she influences others.  It means allowing others to exceed her expectations and recognizing staff for their efforts.  It’s important for Aubrey to be human, humble, patient and empathetic to the needs of others.  This is what makes Aubrey an outstanding leader in donor care.  She recognizes the individual and what they have to offer. 

    Aubrey has exceptional interpersonal skills.  She has been a rock for the Rapid City United Blood Services location due to her longevity, passion for the mission, and donor care knowledge.  Since taking her role in 2004, she has been influential in training other donor care supervisors.  Aubrey has a good understanding that change is how we grow and improve, and she is able to communicate this to her staff.  Aubrey’s core values and her dedication has helped her excel in her position and stay well-rounded, focused, driven and compassionate for the people she works with.  Aubrey takes great pride in delivering the best customer service to our donors, customer, and staff members.  It’s very easy for Aubrey to relate to people and she can ALWAYS put a smile on someone’s face.  

    Rolf Kovenetsky Leader of the Year Award - Recruitment Supervisor, Manager or Director - Karen Muscolino, New York Blood Center in New York City, NY

    In 1994 Karen Muscolino joined New York Blood Center (NYBC) as an Account Manager in the Long Island region.  She loved her job, excelled in her role and was quickly promoted within two years, first to Recruitment Manager, then to Recruitment Director. 

    Managing a team of 11 Account Managers, Karen is responsible for 160,000 of the 388,000 unit goal at NYBC.  35,000 of those units come from donor centers in her territory.  

    One of the qualities that make Karen so unique is that she is adaptable to our ever changing industry despite many years of service.   You’ll never hear her say, “But we do it this way!”  She is good whether in growth mode or if she needs to switch to a declining mode.  She understands and has embraced the needs for efficiency, projection accuracy and cost containment.   

    She is well respected among her peers for her knowledge and for her leadership of a very cohesive team.   This summer, Karen opened her home for a team building day of good food and fun.  Barefoot and blindfolded, she participated in all of the exercises and the day of silliness and laughter did much to boost morale during the challenging summer months.  

    Karen’s relationships extend beyond NYBC walls too.  She does outstanding work with NYBC’s Volunteer Leadership Team (VLT).  The VLT was started by Rolf Kovenetsky in 1980 and is a network of corporate and community leaders that help support NYBC’s mission.  Karen learned from Rolf and embraced his motto “involvement leads to commitment.” 

    Humanitarian Service Award (Community Organization) - Father Richard Augustyn, Kaleida Health System nominated by Unyts in Buffalo, NY

    The Humanitarian Service Award recognizes a community organization that encourages the spirit of volunteerism.

    Father Richard Augustyn began making contributions toward blood donation at the inception of Unyts community blood bank in 2007. He continues more than ten years later with aiding in blood recruitment for all sites within the Kaleida Health system with 1,000 units of blood collected annually.

    Over the years, Father Richard and Kaleida Health have shown their dedication to this lifesaving Mission. His tremendous passion and commitment to help humanity is shown in the endless hours he works to show that everyone can save lives.

    Unyts says it has been a privilege to know this enthusiastic and dedicated priest and humanitarian and to work with their top health care organization.

    Blood Drive Award - Most Creative - Cathy Flores, NAVMC - Northern AZ Volunteer Medical Corp. nominated by United Blood Services in Flagstaff, AZ

    The driving force behind this blood drive is volunteer coordinator, Cathy Flores. She hosts several drives, but without question, the largest and most creative is the Annual Zombie Blood Drive.  

    Cathy Flores, a NAVMC volunteer, wanted to help children and the community locally. She does so with many different events in Flagstaff, but her pride and joy is the Annual Zombie Blood Drive and Fundraiser. This partnership began in 2014. Cathy wanted an event that was locally beneficial, but also fun for those donating blood and money for good causes. The first year in 2014, Cathy and NAVMC brought in 30 successful blood donations and $4300 for the local foodbank. Since that time, the blood drive and fundraiser have grown with the 2017 Zombie blood drive collecting 95 blood donations as well as $22K for the local foodbanks.

    Cathy collaborates with a network of businesses including Subway, Coca-Cola, BBVA Compass Bank, which is the location for the drive.

    The BBVA Compass Bank is completely transformed with Zombie and Halloween décor. Donors have the fun opportunity to receive Zombie makeovers, scars, tattoos, etc. It is fun to see even the more stoic regular donors have a good time and get Zombiefied! Donors also have an opportunity to buy hands for the Zombie Hand Drop Fundraiser.  At the end of the blood drive, the hands are dropped off a building and the hand that falls in or closest to the square on the body outline receives 1st place. 

    Cathy adds new events each year and is already planning for the 5th Annual Zombie Blood Drive and Fundraiser where she wants to include a Zombie Crawl. Her dream is for this to become a statewide event.

    Blood Drive Award - Most Productive - Janet Rewolinski, RN, Aurora Health Care, Inc. nominated by Blood Center of Wisconsin, a part of Versiti in Milwaukee, WI

    Aurora Health Care already held many drives with BCW, but in 2015 they started an Accelerated Blood Program.

    The Purpose of the Program was to increase Aurora Caregiver blood donations. That first year, Aurora Caregivers collected 1,566 successful donations or 5% of their total usage for 2015.  The Aurora Health Care Accelerated Blood Program goal was to increase donations from 1,500 in 2015 to 3,000 donations by 2017.

    By the end of 2016, Aurora collected 628 more units which was a 40% increase over 2015.  They added 6 additional drives and increased the average blood drive size from 20 to 26.

    They did even better last year. In 2017, they increased collections 19% and added 26 additional drives over 2016.  Final count for 2017 was 3,378 donations which exceeded their goal of 3,000.

    Aurora Health Care embodies and practices their community outreach motto: “We are better together because of our partnerships with hundreds of organizations across our footprint.”  Aurora Health Care’s partnership with BloodCenter of Wisconsin, part of Versiti, has impacted many patients’ lives and will continue to grow to serve more patient’s in the future.

    School Blood Drive Award (High School or College) - La Samare High School in Plessisville, Québec, Canada nominated by Héma-Québec

    The School Blood Drive Award is given to a high school or college that has shown an exceptional commitment to establishing blood donation as a priority among its students, and La Samare High School does just that.

    It all began with ONE STUDENT-ONE DONOR  - An exceptional teacher’s vision.

    François Gagnon is a science teacher at La Samare High School, which has a student enrolment of 900. He has coordinated the school’s annual blood drive since 2011. François integrates the organization of the event into his course plan to mobilize the students to become involved in the project. The blood drive has become so popular that all the students at the school join forces on this project. In addition to pencils, binders and erasers, the school board has even allowed La Samare to integrate the responsibility for recruiting a blood donor for the annual drive into the list of requirements for students at the beginning of the year. This is a perfect illustration of François’s vision of “one student–one donor”.

    In 2011, the blood drive welcomed 260 blood donors that first year, far exceeding its original goal of 160. Since then, the goal and results have consistently exceeded expectations: the 2018 drive was just held 2 weeks ago. The goal was 1,000 units and the drive collected 1,091 making this one-day blood drive the most successful in the entire province of Québec.

    For any high school to draw more units than they have students is incredible. What makes this story even more amazing is that the High School is located in a small town of only 6,700 residents. And the students who organize the blood drive cannot give blood at their own event because they have not reached the legal age of 18. So all donors have to be recruited within the community!

    In raising awareness among youth about the importance of giving the “gift of life”, François’s vision is also to ensure future generations of blood donors. Since 2013, there has been a visible increase in the presence of former students returning as blood donors. Students watched the Awards presentation via Facebook Live. Watch the students of La Samare High School thank ADRP for the award here.

    Donor Collections Team Member Award - Nikki Gordon, Carter BloodCare in Bedford, TX

    The Collections Team Member Award was introduced in 2013 to recognize the valuable role collections plays in the donor experience.

    Nikki Gordon is a phlebotomist 2 (P2) at Carter BloodCare (CBC). She has developed a ‘can-do’ reputation about her work since joining the organization in 2010. Nikki has done whatever it takes on her end to help ensure that CBC’s Mission statement, “We save lives by making transfusion possible” is an enduring truth. 

    Nikki has excelled in all areas of the program and received a promotion to her

    The new title meant accepting all of the responsibilities that come with supervising a team. Nikki has developed many individual staff members since her supervisory duties took effect. Her desire to help people succeed has been noticed, and there is not a shortage of people yearning to join her team if an opportunity presents itself.  They recognize her ability to coach and people want that help from her. Mobile Collections management has recognized this, too and plans to use Nikki as a mentor to develop future leaders in the department.

    Ron Franzmeier Lifetime Achievement Award – Aissa Martin, American Red Cross, Atlanta, GA

    The Franzmeier Award was established in 1991 to honor a leader in the field of Donor Recruitment. 

    Aissa is currently one of four national instructors of Donor Recruitment for the American Red Cross.  With over 25 years in blood banking, she has served in many capacities in the industry. Her career began in Collections.  She later served as a lead blood banking tech for LABCorp. Aissa’s recruitment career began with Florida Blood Services as a donor recruiter, specializing in the youth market.  She continued her career in donor recruitment with LifeSouth, prior to her employment with the Southern Region American Red Cross.

    As a regional manager for the Southern Region, she has served on numerous task forces and initiatives. She also managed the Business Development Manager Program. Additionally her numbers are outstanding;  in her first year in donor recruitment, department she exceeded goal by 22%. 

    In addition to her work with the blood industry, Aissa has been a member of ADRP since 2000. She was on the ADRP Board of Directors from 2009 to 2014. She is the recipient of the 2002 Leadership Award in Recruitment from the Southern Region and 2003 Manager of the Year from ADRP. She is a frequent presenter at ADRP conferences and thoroughly embodies the ADRP Mission.

    Because of these efforts, Aissa has earned admiration from those for whom and with whom she works with in the blood industry.


  • Fri, February 02, 2018 1:41 PM | Steve Bolton (Administrator)

    A bit of life advice from Hol:

    It’s a strange thing to realise and accept your mortality at 26 years young. It’s just one of those things you ignore. The days tick by and you just expect they will keep on coming; Until the unexpected happens. I always imagined myself growing old, wrinkled and grey- most likely caused by the beautiful family (lots of kiddies) I planned on building with the love of my life. I want that so bad it hurts.

    That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right.

    I’m 27 now. I don’t want to go. I love my life. I am happy.. I owe that to my loved ones. But the control is out of my hands.

    I haven’t started this ‘note before I die’ so that death is feared - I like the fact that we are mostly ignorant to it’s inevitability.. Except when I want to talk about it and it is treated like a ‘taboo’ topic that will never happen to any of us.. That’s been a bit tough. I just want people to stop worrying so much about the small, meaningless stresses in life and try to remember that we all have the same fate after it all so do what you can to make your time feel worthy and great, minus the bullshit.

    I have dropped lots of my thoughts below as I have had a lot of time to ponder life these last few months. Of course it’s the middle of the night when these random things pop in my head most!

    Those times you are whinging about ridiculous things (something I have noticed so much these past few months), just think about someone who is really facing a problem. Be grateful for your minor issue and get over it. It’s okay to acknowledge that something is annoying but try not to carry on about it and negatively effect other people’s days.

    Once you do that, get out there and take a freaking big breath of that fresh Aussie air deep in your lungs, look at how blue the sky is and how green the trees are; It is so beautiful. Think how lucky you are to be able to do just that - breathe.

    You might have got caught in bad traffic today, or had a bad sleep because your beautiful babies kept you awake, or your hairdresser cut your hair too short. Your new fake nails might have got a chip, your boobs are too small, or you have cellulite on your arse and your belly is wobbling.

    Let all that shit go.. I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go. It is all SO insignificant when you look at life as a whole. I’m watching my body waste away right before my eyes with nothing I can do about it and all I wish for now is that I could have just one more Birthday or Christmas with my family, or just one more day with my partner and dog. Just one more.

    I hear people complaining about how terrible work is or about how hard it is to exercise - Be grateful you are physically able to. Work and exercise may seem like such trivial things ... until your body doesn’t allow you to do either of them.

    I tried to live a healthy life, in fact, that was probably my major passion. Appreciate your good health and functioning body- even if it isn’t your ideal size. Look after it and embrace how amazing it is. Move it and nourish it with fresh food. Don’t obsess over it.

    Remember there are more aspects to good health than the physical body.. work just as hard on finding your mental, emotional and spiritual happiness too. That way you might realise just how insignificant and unimportant having this stupidly portrayed perfect social media body really is.. While on this topic, delete any account that pops up on your news feeds that gives you any sense of feeling shit about yourself. Friend or not.. Be ruthless for your own well-being.

    Be grateful for each day you don’t have pain and even the days where you are unwell with man flu, a sore back or a sprained ankle, accept it is shit but be thankful it isn’t life threatening and will go away.

    Whinge less, people! .. And help each other more.

    Give, give, give. It is true that you gain more happiness doing things for others than doing them for yourself. I wish I did this more. Since I have been sick, I have met the most incredibly giving and kind people and been the receiver of the most thoughtful and loving words and support from my family, friends and strangers; More than I could I ever give in return. I will never forget this and will be forever grateful to all of these people.

    It is a weird thing having money to spend at the end.. when you’re dying. It’s not a time you go out and buy material things that you usually would, like a new dress. It makes you think how silly it is that we think it is worth spending so much money on new clothes and ‘things’ in our lives.

    Buy your friend something kind instead of another dress, beauty product or jewellery for that next wedding. 1. No-one cares if you wear the same thing twice 2. It feels good. Take them out for a meal, or better yet, cook them a meal. Shout their coffee. Give/ buy them a plant, a massage or a candle and tell them you love them when you give it to them.

    Value other people’s time. Don’t keep them waiting because you are shit at being on time. Get ready earlier if you are one of those people and appreciate that your friends want to share their time with you, not sit by themselves, waiting on a mate. You will gain respect too! Amen sister.

    This year, our family agreed to do no presents and despite the tree looking rather sad and empty (I nearly cracked Christmas Eve!), it was so nice because people didn’t have the pressure of shopping and the effort went into writing a nice card for each other. Plus imagine my family trying to buy me a present knowing they would probably end up with it themselves.. strange! It might seem lame but those cards mean more to me than any impulse purchase could. Mind you, it was also easier to do in our house because we had no little kiddies there. Anyway, moral of the story- presents are not needed for a meaningful Christmas. Moving on.

    Use your money on experiences.. Or at least don’t miss out on experiences because you spent all your money on material shit.

    Put in the effort to do that day trip to the beach you keep putting off. Dip your feet in the water and dig your toes in the sand. Wet your face with salt water.

    Get amongst nature.

    Try just enjoying and being in moments rather than capturing them through the screen of your phone. Life isn’t meant to be lived through a screen nor is it about getting the perfect photo.. enjoy the bloody moment, people! Stop trying to capture it for everyone else.

    Random rhetorical question. Are those several hours you spend doing your hair and make up each day or to go out for one night really worth it? I’ve never understood this about females .

    Get up early sometimes and listen to the birds while you watch the beautiful colours the sun makes as it rises.

    Listen to music.. really listen. Music is therapy. Old is best.

    Cuddle your dog. Far out, I will miss that.

    Talk to your friends. Put down your phone. Are they doing okay?

    Travel if it’s your desire, don’t if it’s not.

    Work to live, don’t live to work.

    Seriously, do what makes your heart feel happy.

    Eat the cake. Zero guilt.

    Say no to things you really don’t want to do.

    Don’t feel pressured to do what other people might think is a fulfilling life.. you might want a mediocre life and that is so okay.

    Tell your loved ones you love them every time you get the chance and love them with everything you have.

    Also, remember if something is making you miserable, you do have the power to change it - in work or love or whatever it may be. Have the guts to change. You don’t know how much time you’ve got on this earth so don’t waste it being miserable. I know that is said all the time but it couldn’t be more true.

    Anyway, that’s just this one young gals life advice. Take it or leave it, I don’t mind!

    Oh and one last thing, if you can, do a good deed for humanity (and myself) and start regularly donating blood. It will make you feel good with the added bonus of saving lives. I feel like it is something that is so overlooked considering every donation can save 3 lives! That is a massive impact each person can have and the process really is so simple.

    Blood donation (more bags than I could keep up with counting) helped keep me alive for an extra year - a year I will be forever grateful that I got to spend it here on Earth with my family, friends and dog. A year I had some of the greatest times of my life.

    ..’Til we meet again.

    Hol

    Xoxo


  • Mon, January 29, 2018 9:20 AM | Steve Bolton (Administrator)

    In 2001, lifelong Floridian Nick Vojnovic joined Be The Match, the National Marrow Donor Program Registry.   As president of Beef O’Brady’s restaurants, he participated in a bone marrow registry drive held at one of his restaurants in support of a patron whose young son needed a compatible donor for a marrow/stem cell transplant.   In 2006, Nick was a potential donor for another patient and upon follow up testing, was told there were some anomalies in his bone marrow and he should consult a hematologist.  He followed up with doctors who monitored his health and in 2015, was diagnosed with Myelofibrosis, a precursor to leukemia and was told he needed a stem cell transplant. 

    Luckily, an unrelated donor match who joined the registry during college was found and with her donation and the support of many OneBlood platelet and blood donors, Nick underwent his transplant at Moffitt Cancer Center in January 2017 and won his battle to live!  A surprise meeting between Nick and his stem cell donor Caroline has been arranged for January 31, 2018 in Clearwater Beach, Florida.

    To learn more about Be The Match go to:  join.bethematch.org/fl or call Marc Silver at 727-348-5060.

    To learn more about the importance of blood and platelet donation and how donors can target the power of their blood type, visit oneblood.org or call 1.888.9DONATE (1.888.936.6283)


  • Wed, January 10, 2018 4:42 PM | Steve Bolton (Administrator)

    Holly Butcher died at 27.

    The Australian Red Cross Blood Service has echoed the words of cancer victim Holly Butcher, who penned a letter published after her death that encouraged people to regularly give blood.

    In the heartfelt message posted on Ms Butcher's Facebook page, the 27-year-old said donations had prolonged her life and she asked people to "do a good deed for humanity [and myself] and start regularly donating blood".

    "I feel like it is something that is so overlooked considering every donation can save three lives!" she wrote.

    Ms Butcher, who News Corp reported had died of Ewing's sarcoma, wrote that blood donations allowed her to have an extra year of life.

    "A year I will be forever grateful that I got to spend here on Earth with my family, friends and dog. A year I had some of the greatest times of my life," she wrote.

    Read more

  • Wed, January 10, 2018 4:23 PM | Steve Bolton (Administrator)

    A man has found a kidney donor, several months after a photo of him wearing this t-shirt around Disney World went viral. Robert Leibowitz, of New Jersey, has been on dialysis for three years. His children can't donate because of their own hereditary health issues. 

    Richie Sully, of Indiana, was donating blood in wake of Hurricane Harvey when he learned he was O positive. As it turns out, he was a match for Robert! Sully said, “As a father, I could relate to having kids, and the last thing I would want my kids to worry about every night when they go to bed is how much more time they have with me.” Read more.


  • Wed, January 10, 2018 4:21 PM | Steve Bolton (Administrator)

    Millions of individuals text emojis every minute of every day, to equal over a billion. Globally, 112.5 million blood donations are collected each year, according to World Health Organizations. We think it’s time those millions of donors get the recognition they deserve, starting with their own special emoji.

    The international #BloodDonorEmoji campaign is sponsored by Community Blood Center of the Carolinas, the nonprofit blood center serving the Piedmont region of North and South Carolina. CBCC believes that together, we can shine a spotlight on the incredible volunteers who so generously give of themselves in such a remarkable way. We can raise awareness about the tremendous and constant demand for blood donors as we work to better support the needs of hospitals and patients in our own communities around the world.

    “This isn’t an effort in the interest of any single blood supplier or group, but an effort to bring recognition and awareness to blood donation and the donors that give, around the world."  said Martin Grable President and CEO of Community Blood Center of the Carolinas. "Social media and texting have become integral to reaching and moving people to action in a pictorial language universally understood.  Recognizing the need, we hope everyone will join in and sign the petition.”

    To learn more and sign the petition, click here.


  • Wed, January 10, 2018 4:20 PM | Steve Bolton (Administrator)

    National Blood Donor Month has been observed in January since 1970 with the goal of increasing blood and platelet donations during winter – one of the most difficult times of year to collect enough blood products to meet patient needs. Inclement winter weather – like what the U.S. is experiencing so far this year – often results in cancelled blood drives, and seasonal illnesses, like the flu, may cause some donors to become temporarily unable to donate.

    Share photos and stories of your blood center's celebrations with ADRP on social media by tagging #adrpgiveblood and #nationalblooddonormonth on Facebook and Instagram.


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