Blood centers are vital to the health of our communities, especially in a year when so many devastations have hit our region. Not only were health services and blood donations in higher demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, the wildfires across parts of the Pacific Northwest brought additional need for blood services for those injured in the fires. The Murdock Trust is grateful to partner with so many in the healthcare field that provide vital blood services, and several that make it the sole focus of their missions.
Bloodworks Northwest, based in the Puget Sound region of Washington State, distributes blood throughout the state and is an international leader in advancing blood health through research. Bloodworks has received several grants from the Murdock Trust over the years, including support for research equipment like a mass spectrometer. Nine teams share use of this instrument to advance research on blood storage, transfusion medicine, thrombosis and blood-related diseases and disorders. One research project focuses on identifying potential causes of damage to red blood cells thought to occur during storage, which can sometimes lead to complications during heart transplants, trauma, and other surgeries.
Blood Bank of Alaska has served people all across Alaska for nearly 80 years. It is the only in-state provider of blood products and serves Alaskans at its locations in Anchorage, Wasilla, Juneau and Fairbanks, as well as two bloodmobiles to reach those in more remote regions. Murdock Trust staff had the privilege of touring one of its facilities in 2015, and the way BBA works to fulfill its mission is truly inspiring. Partnering for nearly 30 years, Murdock Trust grants have funded essential equipment, infrastructure upgrades and even the construction of one of BBA’s Anchorage locations.
Vitalant (formerly Inland Northwest Blood Center) serves 35 hospitals in eastern Washington and northern Idaho to ensure that a safe and adequate blood supply is available for all residents at all times. As the sole blood services provider, Vitalant must collect blood from at least 200 volunteer donors each day to meet the needs of the region. Nearly 60 percent of the blood supply comes from rural mobile drives, and bloodmobiles are integral to these collections. Murdock Trust grants have funded two bloodmobiles over the years, which expanded the center’s territory reach, especially in rural communities.
Blood services are of vital importance in so many circumstances, from surgeries to treatments for certain medical conditions. And now in this unprecedented year, blood is more necessary than ever. In addition to working hard to carry out their life-saving missions, these blood centers are also contributing to the fight against COVID-19 by testing for antibodies in donors and collecting blood and plasma that can help others in their recovery from the virus. We are grateful for the blood service nonprofits in our region and the work they do to improve and save lives every day.