Valley of the Sun, AZ

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“I Wonder Whose Blood This Is?”

 United Blood Services July 07, 2014
Submitted by United Blood Services

I wonder whose blood this is… ” pondered 11-year-old Mia McPoland as she received her 110th blood transfusion on May 29, at Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa. Mia put the unit of blood against her cheek, her way of giving the donor a hug to thank them for giving her a chance to grow up. As she examined the second unit of blood needed to complete her transfusion, she proclaimed “it’s (type) A like me.” Mia understands the different types of blood. In fact, there have been times that her type wasn’t available and they had to substitute type O, the universal blood. Worse yet, once she was turned away until compatible blood could be located.

Mia was born with a rare disorder called Diamond Blackfan Anemia, so her body cannot produce red blood cells. Since Mia was 6 weeks old, she has relied on the kindness of strangers to provide blood for lifesaving transfusions every month — a need that is expected to continue the rest of her life.

“Hope is the best medicine,” Mia said. “Blood donors have given me a chance to do the things I love most, like playing with my friends and dancing to Taylor Swift songs.” There have been a few scary moments along her journey. When she was about two years old, her mom, Kristi, took Mia to the hospital for her regular transfusion, but there was not a match available for her blood type. The staff sent them away for about five hours until they could locate blood for Mia.

Cardon Children’s Medical Center is one of the 58 hospitals depending upon United Blood Services, Arizona’s largest non-profit community blood provider. Every day, United Blood Services works to attract about 500 blood donors to meet patient transfusion needs across the state. When summer arrives, maintaining Arizona’s blood supply becomes even more challenging. Vacations prevent many organizations from holding blood drives this time of year — the source of more than half of Arizona’s blood supply. The biggest impact is felt when students recess for the summer and take a break from hosting blood drives, as teens provide one out of every seven red blood donations given in Arizona during the school year. The most needed blood component, Arizona patients required 167,000 red blood transfusions last year.

“Drive Away a Hero” Summer Car Raffle

With the summer vacation season in full swing, United Blood Services has ramped up efforts by partnering with the seven Valley
Volkswagen dealers and AZ-TV for the 5th Annual “Drive Away a Hero” summer car raffle. Mia McPoland enthusiastically volunteered to share her story to inspire blood donors as a face behind the campaign. All June 1 – August 31 blood donors are automatically entered to win a 2014 Passat S that has been donated by Volkswagen. Throughout the summer, 10 blood donors are being drawn as finalists to participate in the September grand prize drawing. One of those lucky donors will drive away the proud owner of a new Volkswagen and a hero to Arizona patients. During the three-month summer campaign, United Blood Services hopes to attract nearly 50,000 blood donors.

Summer Awareness Program
The two weeks surrounding the Independence Day holiday have traditionally been the most difficult time of the summer to meet patient blood needs. To solve this problem, Channel 12 News, The Arizona Republic, and 17 Valley radio stations have launched a community awareness campaign to encourage blood donations. For information on the status of the blood supply around the Independence Day holiday, tune in to one of the participating radio stations:

Between June 24 and July 5, donors at all six United Blood Services fixed site center locations receive a voucher for a free Whataburger in appreciation for donating around Independence Day, courtesy of Whataburger. They are also entered into six daily raffles for a pair of roundtrip train tickets to the Grand Canyon, donated by Grand Canyon Railway.

Saving Arizona Blood Drive

The effort heats up with the Saving Arizona blood drive on July 5, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., at the Tempe Center for the Arts. Sponsors from across the Valley have joined forces to host Arizona’s largest blood drive, where one lucky donor will be drawn as one of the 10 finalists for the Volkswagen Passat S — the best odds of being drawn! The first 500 donors will take home vouchers for a pair of D-backs tickets and a free Whataburger.

Who is Eligible to Donate Blood?
United Blood Services has set qualifications for donating blood within the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established guidelines. In addition to protecting the safety and potency of each blood transfusion, donor qualifications help ensure that it is safe for each donor to give blood. Additional donor eligibility information can be found online at (Learn More/The Donor Experience) or by calling United Blood Services at 1-877-UBS-HERO (827-4376).

The basic minimum donor qualifications include:
  • Age: 16 years old (with parental consent) or 18 years old without
  • Weight: 110 pounds (Power Red: 130 lbs. male and 150 lbs. female) – additional height/weight requirements apply to donors 16 – 22 years old
  • Temperature: 99.5 F maximum
  • Blood Pressure: 90 – 180 systolic and 50 – 100 diastolic
  • Pulse: 50 – 100 beats per minute
  • Hemoglobin: 12.5 grams/deciliter (Power Red: 13.3 g/dL)

According to United Blood Services, the need for blood donors has escalated since the beginning of summer, especially for type O-negative, the universal blood type required primarily by emergency and trauma patients. “In emergency situations when there is no time to determine a patient’s blood type, doctors depend on O-negative blood to sustain life until the patient can be stabilized,” emphasized Audrey Jennings, United Blood Services’ regional executive director. “An ample supply gives transfusion options when shortages of other blood types arise.” Doctors also routinely rely on O-negative blood when premature babies and infants under 6 months old require lifesaving transfusions.

In the past 11 years, Mia has accompanied her mom to dozens of blood drives to remind donors that their generous gift of life saves someone just like her. “Words cannot express my thankfulness to blood donors,” said her mom, Kristi McPoland. “If I could, I would hug each one to let them know how much they mean to my daughter and to our family.”

Donate blood and Find the Hero in You. To make an appointment,call 1-877-UBS-HERO (827-4376) or visit

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 United Blood Services| July 07, 2014
Categories:  Feature

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