As the nation watched, Hurricane Harvey ripped through Texas breaking one record after the other. Then came hurricanes Irma and Maria—and history repeated itself in Florida, Puerto Rico and beyond. All regions saw severe damage caused by these massive and incredibly destructive storms.
Across the country, generous blood donors answered the call to give blood to help patients in the hurricane-ravaged areas and replenish the supply for those in their own communities. Blood Systems, along with other blood centers, stepped up to help Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center in Houston, OneBlood in Florida and Banco de Sangre de Servicios Mutuos in Puerto Rico by shipping the blood components they needed until each could begin collecting blood again. Blood Systems stands ready to ship additional blood to Puerto Rico if requested.
In addition to sending blood, Blood Systems offered its employees, donors and blood drive coordinators the opportunity to help out with a financial contribution.
Blood bankers are often kindred spirits, so it was a simple and heartfelt request for Dave Green, CEO of Blood Systems, to make to his own staff. In an email to them in late August, he wrote: “Blood Systems is setting up a way for you to make a charitable donation to directly help Gulf Coast blood center employees, people who share our commitment to saving lives. Many of them have been impacted by the hurricane and more than a dozen have lost their homes.”
Employees, board members and even consultants responded to Dave’s request. As of late September, nearly $40,000 was collected to assist Gulf Coast staff in need and more contributions were still coming in.
“I am humbled by the incredible outpouring of support from our employees to help alleviate the challenges faced by our colleagues at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center who were personally impacted by Hurricane Harvey,” Dave says.
But Blood Systems employees were not the only ones to lend a hand. The organization’s donors and blood drive coordinators were given a similar opportunity to help. Donors and coordinators earn points for donating and organizing drives. They can redeem those points for thank-you items in an online rewards store. In addition to boosting the blood supply during this time, many donors and coordinators designated their earned reward points to support United Way of Greater Houston. Because of their outpouring of support, Blood Systems will send United Way a check for more than $67,000.
“Not only did our amazing donors and coordinators quickly respond to the need for blood and platelet donations,” says Rob Van Tuyle, president, Blood Systems blood services division, “but they further demonstrated their incredible willingness to help others by designating their well-earned reward points to assist the relief efforts in Houston.”
Note: Blood Systems is setting up similar outreach in support of Hurricane Irma relief efforts in Florida.