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Be Someone’s Hero. Give Blood.

Catherine – Newark, Delaware

Scott Hicks received many blood transfusions as he battled Hodgkin lymphoma in 2009 (cancer of the lymphatic system). Transfusions are important for cancer patients because radiation, chemotherapy treatments, and treatment-related surgeries fight cancer but also harm healthy blood counts. Patients may experience fatigue, excessive bleeding, or bruising from reduced red cell and platelet counts. Blood transfusions boost blood levels back to normal and help the patient feel better during treatment.

Scott passed away six months after his diagnosis, but the blood donations he received helped him during his fight and prolonged his last days with family and loved ones. Catherine, Scott’s wife, shows her gratitude by donating blood for current cancer patients and says it’s easy for anyone to start giving. She explained that donating at the Blood Bank of Delmarva is simple because, “the staff works around your schedule to find an appointment.” Chances are there is someone in your neighborhood battling cancer. Your donation can become the next transfusion that helps give patients a chance at recovery.

Press Release: It’s A Matter of Convenience

New Approach Designed to Make Donating Easier

“The days of blood donors walking through our doors is facing the same types of challenges that retailers are finding with online competitors, it’s about convenience.”

“Donors have been telling us for a while that taking time out of their workday to donate is becoming increasingly challenging and we’re seeing it in our numbers,” said Ric Thomas, VP of Technical Services for Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD). “Our Market Street donor center in Wilmington is not serving our community as efficiently as we’d like to see, so we’ve made the decision to close that center and increase our mobile drives in the city. Since our lease expired and the building has been sold, this was a good opportunity for BBD to improve how we serve our local community.”

BBD’s history in the City of Wilmington is longstanding. Blood Bank of Delaware was established in August of 1954 by a group of Wilmington businessmen. The organization’s first offices were located on Washington Street and the 913 Market Street donor center first opened on the 9th floor in 1984. BBD moved to its current ground floor location in 2006.

“By switching to a mobile strategy we’ll have the ability to collect donations from a wider variety of the population, including those who spend a majority of their day inside their offices. This will result in increased blood donations which will benefit the over 20,000 patients we serve in area hospitals each year” says Thomas.

Blood Bank of Delmarva’s Market Street location will be open to collect blood through June 27th. Those who would like to schedule a donation appointment may call 1 888 8-BLOOD-8 or visit www.DelmarvaBlood.org. You can also download BBD’s mobile app and schedule an appointment on your mobile device.

Blood Bank of Delmarva has four other convenient donation centers throughout the region: Chadds Ford, PA, Salisbury, MD, Dover and Newark, DE.

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Jeff – Wilmington, Delaware

Jeff Miller discovered his anemia after his first blood donation deferral. His physician suspected an iron deficiency and recommended Jeff take supplements. However, a second blood donation deferral showed his anemia wasn’t resolving. Further investigation by Jeff’s care team revealed his condition was caused by a tumor that needed to be surgically removed.

On April 29th, 2016, Jeff experienced complications during his operation. Jeff bled excessively and doctors used seven pints of blood during the procedure to help keep him alive.  The Miller family is grateful the blood was there when Jeff needed it.  Jeff’s wife Chris explained, “I hadn’t thought he would need transfusions during the operation. It shows you never know when you’ll rely on a blood donation.”

Donating blood alerted Jeff of his health problem and donated blood helped save him during his procedure. Chris donates often to show her gratitude for the blood donors who aided her husband and Jeff plans to donate again once his physician clears him. The Miller family implores other community members to start giving back too because patients, doctors, and hospitals rely on it!

Blood Bank Announces New CEO

Former Board Chair Moves to Executive Office

John Ferretti, the immediate past Chairman of the Board of Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD), has been chosen to lead the organization as its next President and Chief Executive Officer.  The announcement was made today by the Board’s Vice Chair, Michael Franklin, President and CEO of Atlantic General Hospital.

“Following an extensive search for a new leader, we found the most qualified candidate was already part of the team overseeing the organization,” said Franklin.  “John has the ability, knowledge and expertise to continue to guide the Blood Bank of Delmarva’s transformation into the future.”  Ferretti replaces Roy Roper, who announced last September his intentions to retire at the end of March.

John brings to the position over 25 years of executive and entrepreneurial leadership experience as a performance-driven CEO, board director and private investor.  He is known for his ability to identify and spearhead profitable business opportunities, transform operational processes, and secure capital for manufacturing and technology companies.  “I look forward to working with the BBD team and serving our Delmarva Community,” noted Mr. Ferretti.

In addition to his work with BBD, John serves on the boards of the Visiting Nurses Association of Christiana Care Health System and the ARC Angel Fund.  He received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from West Virginia University and his MBA from Monmouth College in New Jersey.

John will officially begin his duties as President and CEO at BBD on April 1.

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Amy – New Castle, Delaware

A driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel hit Amy Blackthorn of New Castle, DE during her commute home. Emergency responders cut Amy from her vehicle and she was flown to Christiana hospital. There, she underwent a ten hour long surgery and received many blood transfusions to save her life. Amy is grateful the blood was there when she needed it. She explained, “Saying thank you isn’t enough.” Now, Amy donates whole blood to show her appreciation for those who helped save her life. She visits BBD every 56 days, “You get to catch up with friends and watch TV. It’s relaxing and you feel amazing after you donate!” Amy encourages others to follow suit because each donation has a huge impact, “You become a hero to that patient, their friends, and family members.”

BLOOD BANK’S CEO ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

Roy Roper to Leave in March

Roy Roper, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD), announced his pending retirement in a message to the staff of the organization today.  Roper joined the Blood Bank in December 2009 as VP of Administrative Services and was named President and CEO in January 2011.

In making the announcement to employees, Roper said “It has been a pleasure being part of BBD for almost seven years.  It has been a great experience knowing and working with so many fine employees.  I appreciate being part of the BBD family, and am grateful for the opportunity to serve as your CEO and President.”  Roper plans to leave the organization in March 2017.

A succession planning and leadership transition team has been formed and an executive search firm engaged to assist in helping recruit Roper’s replacement.  “Roy and the Board are fully committed and engaged in executing a solid plan to facilitate a smooth transition.  Hiring a leader who can continue Roy’s work in guiding BBD’s transformation into the future while maintaining long-term stability remains our primary focus to ensure ongoing service to the community,” said BBD Board Chair John Ferretti.

During his tenure as CEO, Roper has led BBD through an ongoing process of changes in response to significant shifts occurring in healthcare and related transfusion medicine environments.  In addition to developing new customer products to benefit patients, he also led the effort to expand BBD’s laboratory testing capabilities, including installation of a new high-speed automated track processing system, becoming the first blood bank in the United States to use the technology.  Under Mr. Roper’s leadership, BBD also became the second blood bank in the country to implement the INTERCEPT® blood system for pathogen reduction in platelet products, which provides a greater level of safety for hospital patients in the Delmarva region.

BBD TESTS FOR ZIKA VIRUS

Organization Implements Test Ahead of Federal Mandate

Newark, DE – The Zika virus continues to spread throughout the United States and cases have now been detected in all 50 states.  In the Delmarva region, Delaware has reported 16 cases while Maryland is reporting 108.

Due to the rapid spread of this virus, mostly through travel with the exception of Florida where the virus has been locally acquired in some patients, the FDA mandated that all blood centers in the United States be required to have all collected blood tested for Zika, beginning November 18, 2016.

Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD), the main supplier of blood and blood products to the Delmarva region was faced with one of two choices, either conduct their own testing or contract with another laboratory.  The FDA had only given blood centers 12 weeks’ notice to comply with the new mandate.  To put this in perspective, the normal timeline for a laboratory to implement a new mandatory test would be six months to a year.

To meet the FDA’s deadline would take a true collaborative effort on the part of Blood Bank employees and the testing manufacturer, Roche Molecular Systems, Inc.  Working many long hours over this short period of time has resulted in BBD now being a part of a prospective study to evaluate the specificity of the cobas ® Zika Test for use with the cobas ® 6800/8800 system for screening of blood donations for the presence of Zika Virus RNA.

According to Trudell Green, BBD’s Laboratory Operations Manager, “Our awesome project team worked together feverishly to accomplish construction, installation of two new instruments, validation of equipment, assays and four software systems, no small task given the timeline we had to meet.”  All blood donated from this point forward will be tested for the Zika Virus.  “It’s yet another step being taken for the safety of the blood supply and for the patients who will receive transfusions”, said Green.

 

 

 

Rebekah’s Journey with BBD

PhotoshopIn July 2015, Rebekah began her internship as a Web Designer at Blood Bank of Delmarva. The month of July was not only a stepping stone in her career, but it also held other significance for Rebekah. July 2015 marked her 20th year in remission from leukemia. Rebekah was only eight months old when she was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia. Throughout her battle with leukemia, Rebekah required several red blood cell and platelet transfusions. “We always loved it when she received blood,” said her mother, Kimberly. “She got red and pink in the face. She had more energy. She was up talking and playing a lot. She was like a normal little kid should be.”

Rebekah has needed platelet and red blood cells for her various procedures. “I’ve needed tons of blood products between all of the surgeries that I’ve had. I’ve had around 30 surgeries,” says Rebekah. Her mother, Kimberly, is a frequent donor. “I think if people knew how much they were really helping someone, they would want to donate. It’s such a good thing to do,” says Kimberly.

Rebekah’s journey with BBD has come full circle from her use of blood products to supporting BBD’s mission with the use of her talents in her current position. “When we took the employee tour through the blood distribution center, there was a box eye level and it was earmarked to go to AI DuPont Hospital which is where I was treated and it was platelets. I almost had a moment. It’s just interesting how that stuff happens and comes full circle,” says Rebekah.

As Rebekah moves closer to the completion of her bachelor’s degree in Web Information Systems at Wilmington University, she reflects on all he challenges she was able to overcome. “It’s neat because I’m able to use my education at BBD which they told me that I would never be able to get. They told me that I would never be able to add beyond 2 + 2 and that I would never be able to make it out of elementary school because of my cerebral palsy and the chemo treatments at such as young age,” states Rebekah.Rebekah copy

BBD is delighted that to have been a part of Rebekah’s life from supplying safe, quality blood products to  offering her an internship in her career field. Rebekah was even featured in BBD’s yearly Life Stream newsletter in 1998. Her mother, Kimberly, shared her daughter’s remarkable story of survival and how blood donors have made a difference in their daughter’s life.

Ashlynn’s 124th Blood Transfusion

Ashlynn_Small imageOften, people believe that blood donations are used to help those who have experienced a severe injury or have a medical condition resulting in the need for surgery; however, this is not always the case. Many people require routine blood transfusions in order to live. Ashlynn is a young girl in the Delmarva region who proves that blood is not solely used for emergency situations and surgical procedures.

On July 3, 2015, Ashlynn celebrated her 7th birthday and her 124th blood transfusion. Ashlynn received her first blood transfusion when she was only 12 hours old after experiencing respiratory distress and congestive heart failure.

She was diagnosed with Diamond Blackfan Anemia (DBA) when she was two months old. DBA is a rare blood disorder. According to the National Library of Medicine (2012), “In Diamond Blackfan anemia, the bone marrow malfunctions and fails to make enough red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the body’s tissues”. Due to the lack of red blood cells, Ashlynn requires blood transfusions every few weeks.

With appropriate medical treatment and supervision, individuals diagnosed with DBA can live long and healthy lives. Blood transfusion therapy is one of the two most common forms of treatment for DBA (Diamond Blackfan Anemia Foundation, 2012). “She’s been alive for 7 years because of people who donate blood. We’re thankful for them every day,” says her mother, Patricia.

Ashlynn is a brave little girl who does not realize how unique her life is in comparison to other children her age. “She’s gone through all of this in her life and it’s just normal for her,” according to Patricia. “It makes me proud because she doesn’t cry, but then it makes me sad that she doesn’t cry because she doesn’t know any different.”

One of the most common reasons people do not donate blood is a lack of awareness about the need for blood donations. “I never honestly thought about donating because I had never been put in the position where I knew anyone who actually needed blood to live. Ashlynn needs blood to live. She’s alive because of people who go out there and donate their blood,” says Patricia.

BBD Produces INTERCEPT Pathogen Reduced Platelet Units

The Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD) announced today the production of pathogen reduced platelets. BBD was the first blood center to sign an agreement with Cerus Corporation following the FDA approval received for the INTERCEPT Blood System for platelets and plasma in December 2014. BBD provides blood transfusion products and services to hospitals and patients in the Delmarva region which includes the State of Delaware, Maryland, as well as portions of the Eastern Shores of Maryland and Virginia. BBD supplies approximately 13,000 platelet and 21,000 plasma units per year.

The INTERCEPT Blood System is designed to reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted infections by inactivating a broad range of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and parasites that may be present in donated blood. The nucleic acid targeting mechanism of action of the INTERCEPT treatment is designed to inactivate established transfusion threats, such as hepatitis B and C, HIV, West Nile virus and bacteria, as well as emerging pathogens such as Chikungunya, Malaria and Dengue. “I am pleased that BBD is able to offer pathogen reduced platelets to our hospitals and their patients. This product provides a greater level of safety by lowering the risk for transfusion-transmitted infections,” says Chris Nare, Lead Executive of Laboratory Services and Distribution at BBD.

The implementation of the INTERCEPT Blood System aligns with BBD’s mission of providing safe and effective blood products that best serve the local hospital and patient community. “The INTERCEPT product closely aligns with our vision of being a Best in Class Blood Bank and Community Partner. Offering pathogen reduced platelets to the hospitals we serve is a major milestone of our ongoing focus on innovation that supports patient well being,” states Roy Roper, President and Chief Executive Officer of BBD.