Success Stories
 
   
 

Below are Blood Collector Success Stories that feature those going above and beyond in ensuring blood is available to patients in need and that the donation experience is a positive one for donors.

Please take a moment to read about these industry heroes.  We also encourage you to submit a success story by following the instructions below, or using the form provided to allow your donors to submit a success story.  Select Success Stories will also be featured in Fenwal's Continuous Flow news magazine and other industry publications.

  • Israel Cevallos, Mobile Supervisor, Carter BloodCare, Texas - "Israel Cevallos came to Carter BloodCare with an impressive military background, a solid work ethic and a heart for blood donation. As an entry-level phlebotomist, he brought his “A game,” with a “whatever it takes to help” attitude and a knack for customer service. " Read more...
  • Blood Bank of Alaska - "Last February, as temperatures in the Interior plummeted to 40 below, Blood Bank of Alaska Fairbanks staff prepared for a drive at UAF as part of the statewide College Blood Bowl. BBA staff gathered outside to help load the ALYX system, chairs, and coolers onto the box truck as quickly as possible." Read more...
  • Paul Sandman, Community Blood Center, California - "If the Donor or the Sponsor is happy, Paul is happy, and that is what makes him an outstanding, passionate role model for blood banking to his co-workers and the public." Read more...
  • Julia Davis, Marsh Regional Blood Center - "Julia Davis, Blood Donor Recruiter for Marsh Regional Blood Center, Wellmont Health System, was selected as a Health Care Hero by The Business Journal of Tri-Cities Tennessee in August 2008." Read more...
  • Rita Kaminskien, Kaunas Blood Donation Center - "Rita has worked with donors and organized many blood donation efforts for twenty years. She is very well known in Kaunas. She always takes the initiative to encourage people to come to the Blood Centre and give blood." Read more...
  • Geoff Belanger, Stanford Blood Center - "Always cheerful, full of positive and helpful information for donors and staff alike, Geoff is now a star red cell apheresis operator." Read more...
  • Melanie Bolin, Carter BloodCare - "According to Melanie, the most rewarding part of her job is educating donors about the 'big picture' of blood donation and how lives are saved when people are willing to give."
    Read more...
  • Janiece Kaufman, Long Island Blood Services - "Looking at petite Janiece Kaufman, you would not immediately think “Life Saver”, but that’s exactly what Long Island Blood Services Donor, Warren Christenson is calling her." Read more..
  • Paddy Whitus, Indiana Blood Center - "Paddy Whitus exemplifies the qualities one would desire in a professional blood collector. A positive experience by the donor is paramount to the donor returning to give in the future." Read more...
     
       
     


    Instructions for Blood Collector Success Story Donor Nomination Forms:

    Donors can submit nominations via this website, or you can complete and print off the attached nomination form. You can then have them leave the form with you or fax it directly to "Blood Collectors Week" at the number provided on the form. Click on the image below to download the form as a PowerPoint file.

     
     

       
     
    Success Stories
       
     


    Carter BloodCare, Texas

    Israel Cevallos came to Carter BloodCare with an impressive military background, a solid work ethic and a heart for blood donation. As an entry-level phlebotomist, he brought his “A game,” with a “whatever it takes to help” attitude and a knack for customer service. According to his supervisor, “Israel comes in early, stays late and his positive attitude influences all he comes in contact with. Moving him to a leadership position was an easy decision.” Today, he supervises mobile drives with the same initiative and heart. As an individual, Israel consistently receives high marks from donor surveys. The mobile drives he leads also score high. And because of his red cell training – not to mention his focus and commitment -- Israel was one of eight Carter BloodCare collections staff members asked to learn and validate the new ALYX system, as well as to consult on the development of the new system’s standard operation procedures. Israel takes on every task to the best of his ability. According to his coworkers, it’s never about him. It’s always about the donors, the patients – and the mission he works for and believes in.


     
     

    Submitted by Jessica Golden,
    Blood Bank of Alaska

    You’ve heard everything’s tougher in Alaska; that’s true of blood collectors too. Last February, as temperatures in the Interior plummeted to 40 below, Blood Bank of Alaska Fairbanks staff prepared for a drive at UAF as part of the statewide College Blood Bowl. BBA staff gathered outside to help load the ALYX system, chairs, and coolers onto the box truck as quickly as possible. They struggled for agility despite their parkas and mittens. They soon met a problem. The mechanical lift gate at the truck’s rear door was frozen in the up position. Taking turns warming up in the building, the staff tried everything they could think of: pushing buttons, flipping levers, jiggling and warming the lift. Eventually, all six Blood Bank of Alaska Fairbanks Center employees budged the lift by hanging from it with all their collective weight. The lift folded out, but wouldn’t lower. Half-frozen, five staff members climbed onto the lift and coaxed it screeching to the ground. Thankful for their success, they loaded the truck and piled in. The truck refused to start. The staff started problem solving worried about the temperature sensitive supplies now waiting in the back of the truck. They plugged the engine block into an electrical outlet with a serious of extension cords and looked up the number for U-Haul. At the flip of the lift switch, the engine jumped to life. The mobile team raced to the drive where donors gave more than 50 units over the 2-day drive. For BBA, braving sub-Arctic conditions for the sake of the mission is all in a day’s work.


     
     

    Submitted by Robert Thais, HR Manager
    Community Blood Bank, California

    If the Donor or the Sponsor is happy, Paul Sandman is happy, and that is what makes him an outstanding, passionate role model for blood banking to his co-workers and the public. In 2003, Paul obtained his RN license, and worked a year in a medical center as an ER nurse. Hearing about the crisis and the complacency in blood donations, he looked into working with the Coachella Valley’s 36 year-old blood bank in Rancho Mirage, California. In 2006, he joined Community Blood Bank to do his part. Since then, giving back to the community has been his passion and he has inspired his Donors and Sponsors of mobile drives to feel the same way. A former actor on “The Guiding Light” and “Startrek”, a former baker and a former caterer, Paul was sidetracked from a career as an RN thirty years ago to pursue the other careers listed above. When he came to California, he completed his RN program and obtained his license. He then became a “blood collector” and brought his people-skills with him to engage our Donors and Sponsors. He instills the excitement and passion of being a blood donor and giving back to the community to the young recruits up at the 29 Palms Marine Base, to the high school first time donors, to the retirees at the senior center and to the general public. Recently, Paul ran into one of his former RN instructors who lamented his losing touch with his floor nurse skills while being a blood collector. Paul’s answer to her was, “I guess it comes down to what is meaningful to each of us: spending time charting and caring for patients on the floor or spending more time with people, educating them about blood donations, and with Donors who want to save lives and who want to help their communities.” Right now, our family of Donors and Sponsors, and Community Blood Bank are happy. Paul is happy, and so is our community.


     
     

    Submitted by Julia Davis, Blood Donor Recruiter
    Marsh Regional Blood Center

    Julia Davis, Blood Donor Recruiter for Marsh Regional Blood Center, Wellmont Health System, was selected as a Health Care Hero by The Business Journal of Tri-Cities Tennessee in August 2008. The following is from the journal: "Julia is not a trauma surgeon or a pediatrician or a nurse, but it's a safe bet that Julia has saved lives through her more than four decades of working in health care. No hospital could serve its community without an adequate blood supply. Davis has made it her life's mission to see that blood is always there when it is needed. Those who go to Marsh's collection center in Kingsport either know or quickly become aware of the magnitude of the role Davis plays in helping sustain the region's blood supply. Two years ago, Marsh's Kingsport facility was renamed the Julia Davis Collection Center. It is estimated that Davis has recruited some 250,000 units of blood over the past four decades."


     
     

    Submitted by Raimonda, Information Administrator
    Kaunas Blood Center

    On September 19th, donors awarded acknowledgements for a job well done to our employees by taking a vote. Those donors who voted were invited into the Blood Donation Centre during our Celebration Week to honor our employees by giving blood and voting for the greatest employee. The peak of our Celebration Week was the announcement of the employee who received the most votes. All in attendance enjoyed our Celebration, which included a cake decorated with our Blood Centre’s logo, treats, music and a joyful atmosphere.

    Our blood centre Director, Art Venslauskas, announced that the head of blood component production, Rita Kaminskien, received the most donor votes. Kaminskien said, “All of our staff are great and worthy of a lot of thanks.” Rita has worked with donors and organized many blood donation efforts for twenty years. She is very well known in Kaunas. She always takes the initiative to encourage people to come to the Blood Centre and give blood. We could write many success stories because our employees work like a big family! The most pleasant aspect of our Celebration was that all employees received a lot of thanks and gratitude from our donors, which made everyone feel really good.

    The Blood Donation Centre in Kaunas would like to wish the employees of all blood centres thanks for continuing to spread light to all who have suffered misfortune and to all severely ill patients who have benefited from a blood or blood component transfusion. You are always needed and your noble work grants the possibility for many people to experience tomorrow and to start enjoying life again.


     
     

    Submitted by Patricia Stayner, Director of Donor Services,
    Stanford Blood Center

    Geoff Belanger, Medical Assistant at Stanford Blood Center in Palo Alto, California, is a true star. Geoff has worked in blood banking for less than one year, but is one of our best employees.

    He grasped the training for whole blood collections and hit the ground running. When we implemented automated red cell technology, Geoff was one of the first to be trained, and was the first to finish the required number of procedures. Geoff made sure he finished first by recruiting his own double red cell donors!

    Always cheerful, full of positive and helpful information for donors and staff alike, Geoff is now a star red cell apheresis operator. Geoff takes an automated red cell system with him on every possible mobile blood drive, and continues to create excitement about automated blood collection wherever he goes.

    Goeff's infectious smile, laugh, positive attitude and top-notch productivity make him a valuable asset to the blood center and to the community.


     
     


    Submitted by Amy Parsley, Manager of Special Programs,
    Carter BloodCare

    Ask Melanie Bolin about donating double red blood cells and watch her face light up. Bolin, a Carter BloodCare phlebotomist and trainer for the last five years, enthusiastically launches into a passionate monologue about the “2RBC” procedure and its benefits to both donors and patients.

    “Red cells are the most used component when it comes to transfusions,” she explains. “The biggest misconception donors have is that we are actually taking two units of whole blood. But once you educate people about the procedure and the safety of donation, most are willing to try it.” According to Melanie, donors typically feel less drained after donating double red cells and are only asked to come back every four months, as opposed to whole blood donors, who are asked to come back every 56 days.

    Melanie Bolin’s team has set the record for the most 2RBC donations in a single day at Carter BloodCare. At a blood drive at Coppell High School, Melanie challenged her to team to draw 100 RBCs and at the end of the day, 99 double red cell units had been drawn. Melanie applauds her team for providing high school students with the best RBC experience possible and making lifetime donors out of young, first-time donors. According to Melanie, the most rewarding part of her job is educating donors about the 'big picture' of blood donation and how lives are saved when people are willing to give.


     
     

    Submitted by Janet Cella, Assistant Apheresis Manager
    New York Blood Center,
    Long Island Blood Services Region

    Looking at petite Janiece Kaufman, you would not immediately think “Life Saver”, but that’s exactly what Long Island Blood Services Donor, Warren Christenson is calling her.  Warren was feeling fine when he walked into a LIBS blood drive for his union on September 1, 2005. He chatted with Janiece as she took his temperature and checked his pulse. It was right then that Warren’s life was about to change. Janiece told him that his pulse was irregular and suggested he might want to notify his physician.  

    Something in Janiece’s voice prompted him to call his doctor immediately and the next day he was in the office for a physical. Before the day was out, Warren was in the hospital!  It was days of blood tests, examinations and anxious moments, but what Warren remembers most is his doctor’s praise of Janiece. “That DS certainly knew what she was talking about!" And that’s how Warren feels, too!

    “I’m so glad to hear this," Janiece said. I love the job I do at LIBS, you know you are having an impact in patient’s lives, but to know that I have helped a Donor makes it even more rewarding.” Janiece has been with LIBS for one and a half years, and those that know her were not surprised to hear Warren’s story. She is always smiling, eager to help and the first one to volunteer and take on extra tasks. LIBS is proud to call her one of our heroes. Warren agrees.


     
     

    Submitted by Pat George, Blood Donor
    Indiana Blood Center

    Paddy Whitus exemplifies the qualities one would desire in a professional blood collector. A positive experience by the donor is paramount to the donor returning to give in the future. 

    Paddy has mastered the task of engaging herself with us so we feel the experience is between friends. Regardless of the number of times a donor gives blood, he or she wants to feel special and appreciated. 

    Paddy enjoys the interaction and respectfully converses with us by asking about our lives and busy schedules as if we are busier or more committed than she.  Of course, we know this is not true, but it is nice that someone like Paddy allows us this moment as we give the gift of life.

    I highly recommend Paddy for recognition and thank all professional blood collectors for serving society in this critical healthcare role.