STANTON, Del., September 20 – For two and a half years, Blood Collection Tech Leena Dalton has steadily progressed as a talented, young phlebotomist at the Blood Bank of Delmarva because of her passion and dedication to the craft.

In a word, her work ethic gets the same grade as her blood type, A+.

Customer services is of the utmost importance to Leena, and she often recruits family and friends to donate blood during critical shortages. That includes her mother, Louise Dalton and her friend, former donor registration specialist Hallie Slack. Both Louise and Hallie came in during the slow collections period that occurred during the summer.

Leena’s passion for BBD’s lifesaving mission is admirable.

Leena works in the Christiana Donor Center, which is one of the northern sites overseen by Director, Donor/Product Services Megan Johnson.

“Leena has rapidly developed as a talented, young phlebotomist in her two and a half years with BBD,” Megan said. “She brings a lot of energy and excellent customer service to the donor floor and ensures our donors have a wonderful experience. We’re also impressed at how Leena recruits donors during shortages, including her mom! She really cares and has passion for her work that is admirable.”

Meet Leena, if you haven’t already, in this Q&A she graciously completed with Bloodline for the latest installment in the Faces of BBD feature series.

Q You’re good at phlebotomy. Have you ever thought about donating yourself?

I have thought about donating because I know how important it is and how much its needed. But, unfortunately, I don’t meet the weight requirements to donate. But one day I will. 

Q What was phlebotomy training like? Did BBD teach you exclusively or did you take classes prior?

I took classes prior at Cecil College. I would say what I learned in phlebotomy school wasn’t too different than what I learned at BBD except we use bigger needles, lol.

Q March was your second anniversary with us, but it seems like you’ve been here longer. That’s a credit to you. Can you comment on your tenure here?

It’s been great; I feel like I’ve grown so much being here. 

Q Out of everyone hired with you, how many are left?

Just me. I was the only one in my training class.  

Q We have Director, Donor/Product Services Megan Johnson and three supervisors in Christiana – Gil Jack, Ahmeer Prescott and Kisha Spence. What is it like to work with them? (And who is your direct supervisor?)

Ahmeer is my direct supervisor, and he’s great. All the supervisors are great. They all interact with us and keep the flow on the floor moving.

Q Congratulations on your promotions. What is your rank now? Can you tell us whether you enjoy apheresis and automation more or whole blood?

Thank you! I’m a BCT 3. I enjoy all of it. Especially platelets because these donors come in every two weeks and you start to build a bond in connection with them.

Q What’s it like when your mother comes in to donate?

It’s great. My mother is the one who got me interested in this career, so it’s nice that she gets to see me do what I love doing.

Q Are you Generation Z? What is the secret to recruiting more young blood donors?

A Yes, I feel if we explain the importance of donating that could help but Gen Z nowadays is all about TikTok trends. So, if we make donating blood a trend, I feel like that would bring more young donors in.

Q Speaking of young donors, you have been asked to help out at the University of Delaware Blood Drive sometimes. Do you think your youth allows you to interact well with donors?

A Yes, I feel if we interact with our youth and explain to them why it is so important to donate they will understand better and listen since we are within the same age group.

Q How would you describe your personality in general, extrovert, introvert, somewhere in between?

A I would say at first I’m an introvert but once I get comfortable and get to know you I’m definitely an extrovert. 

Q You told me the story of sticking up for a kid in your high school with special needs who was being bullied. You’re so compassionate. Do you have a soft spot in your heart for kids who are different?

A I do; I always believe in treating everyone with kindness and respect. Just because someone is born different doesn’t mean they should be treated differently or with disrespect.

Q Where do you see yourself in five years?

A I see myself being an RN for pediatric cancer patients. I’ve always had an interest in that field.

Q Who is your favorite staff member?

Joy, who is a BCT3, is like my work mom. When I first started I was very shy and kept to myself. But Joy noticed how shy I was and over time was able to get me out of my shell and teach me the ropes. Now she has become more like family to me.

Q Lastly, can you provide us with some details about yourself?

Town of residence: Conowingo, Md.

Family: I was adopted by a wonderful mom and dad. My parents got me from Peru when I was 3 days old, and they fully adopted me when I was 4 years old.

Hobbies: I love exploring abandoned places. 

Favorite quote: “Running away from a race is a race you’ll never win.”