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Dwight, Claymont, Delaware

Dwight & PaigeDwight of Claymont, Delaware, began donating platelets in 1995 to continue a family tradition, unaware of how his family’s involvement would come full circle.

“My dad had always been a platelet donor, so it felt natural to me,” he explained. “I did it because I felt I was helping people; I always like to help.”

At 15 months old, his daughter Paige was diagnosed with Atrial Septal Defect (ASD). According to the Mayo Clinic (2014), “ASD is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of your heart (atria). The condition is present from birth (congenital). Small atrial septal defects may close on their own during infancy or early childhood.” After living with ASD for nine months, physicians determined the best treatment for Paige would be to surgically close the hole.

In advance to Paige’s open heart surgery, family members with her blood type were able to donate fresh whole blood to be used during surgery. While several family members tried to donate, Dwight and his aunt were both successfully able to donate blood for Paige two days before surgery.

Paige is now six years old and in kindergarten. “She’s perfect now. Unless you saw her scar, you would never know what she had been through,” Dwight remarked.

In order to donate fresh whole blood for Paige’s surgery, Dwight needed to interrupt his usual platelet donation schedule. He is now working towards his usual twice a month platelet donation schedule. He credits the early Saturday morning donation hours at the Christiana Donor Center for allowing him time to donate and return home early enough to enjoy time with his family, which now also includes his three year old son.

On January 16, 2015, Dwight donated his 16th gallon of platelets at the Blood Bank of Delmarva.

William Penn Students Going for Record Again

February 23, 2015 – On Tuesday, February 24, students and staff from William Penn High School in New Castle, Del., hope to continue to break local records by holding the largest one-day high school blood drive on Delmarva for the ninth year in a row.

This year’s drive will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the school’s gymnasium. In 2014, 174 donors donated the gift of life at the annual February drive. This year’s schedule allows for 250 appointments throughout the day and the schedule is already full.

“We are grateful to all of the high schools and colleges that participate in our school blood drive program. William Penn High School has always set the standard in recruiting student donors and reminding them why it is important to give blood,” said Kelly Sakiewicz, School Program Coordinator at Blood Bank of Delmarva. “We hope that all of the students who participate have a great, first-time experience and will continue to give blood on a regular basis. We are hoping to build a foundation that grows into dedicated life savers for years to come.”

During the previous school year (September 2013 to May 2014), 75 high schools and 11 colleges throughout Delmarva hosted 139 blood drives resulting in 8,227 whole blood and ALYX donations.

The School Blood Drive Program provides 11% of the blood supply in the Delmarva region.  The program started in 1984 with just 140 donations at two schools.

Jenn, Middletown, DE

Jenn Boileau

“I received a blood transfusion when I gave birth to my first daughter, and it saved my life,” said Jenn Boileau of Middletown.

After a generally normal pregnancy, a delivery which began fairly well on Dec. 21, 2002, took a dramatic turn. Jenn’s labor became extremely difficult and prolonged. Her baby, Taylor, was very large, got stuck in the birth canal, and in a life-saving measure, doctors had to break her clavicle in order to deliver her.

Jenn felt fine the first few hours after delivery – weak and tired to be sure – but later began experiencing extreme pain in her abdomen.

“The pain was unlike anything I had ever encountered. Honestly, it felt like I was going to deliver another baby,” she said.

So she buzzed the nurse, who entered the room to a terrible sight – Jenn was in the midst of a postpartum hemorrhage. Her uterus had never contracted after the delivery. Instead, it kept filling with blood, and Jenn was passing massive, grapefruit-sized clots of blood.

She was transferred to the ICU, where efforts to stop the bleeding began immediately. At one point, Jenn heard a physician say, “If this bleeding doesn’t get under control, we’re going to have to do an emergency hysterectomy” – horrifying words to a 28-year-old, first-time mother who wanted more children.

At that point, nurses rushed in with bags of blood, and the transfusion began.

“Everything settled down. My body calmed down,” she said. “I remember looking at the bags of blood, thinking ‘thank you, thank you’ to whoever had given me this second chance.”

Jenn stabilized. She was able to leave the hospital less than two days later.

“When it happened, it was fast and the blood was right there. If there was no blood, I would’ve had a hysterectomy, and I would’ve never had my other two daughters. I never thought I’d be a blood recipient. You never think you’re going to need it. The blood saved me, and my life with my family would not be what it is today.”

 

 

Gwen, Milford, DE

Gwen Guerke of Milford has donated platelets for 16 years.

“My son Danny had leukemia. He died from it,” she explained. “He was at Hahnemann University Hospital. At the time I didn’t know that leukemia patients use platelets. They had a small donation room right there where I could donate. I had never even donated blood before.”

Critically needed for cancer and leukemia patients, platelets only have a five-day shelf life. Adding to the urgent need for platelets is that not everyone can donate. Donors must meet certain eligibility requirements, including having a platelet count ratio conducive to giving.

During a platelet donation, a small amount of blood drawn from the arm is passed through a machine that collects platelets and plasma and returns red blood cells with saline to the donor. The whole process takes 1.5 to 2 hours, so BBD offers a selection of movies and wifi to donors to pass the time.

In January 2014, the staff at the Dover Donor Center recognized Guerke for her 100th platelet donation. She’s now recorded 125 successful donations, and shows no sign of stopping.

“Here, I was encouraged to donate platelets rather than whole blood because not everyone can,” Guerke added. “I try to do it at least once a month because I know people need it, not just leukemia patients but patients with all kinds of cancers. Once after a donation, the phlebotomist told me my platelets were going right up to a child at Nemours/Alfred I duPont Hospital for Children.”

BBD, Cerus Corporation Enter Agreement

Use of INTERCEPT Platelets and Plasma Enhances Patient Safety

February 4, 2015 – Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD) recently signed a three-year purchase agreement with Cerus Corporation for the INTERCEPT Blood System for platelets and plasma.

“The implementation of the INTERCEPT system aligns with our mission of providing safe, effective blood products that best serve our hospital and patient community,” said BBD President and CEO Roy Roper. “We are excited to be one of the first centers to adopt pathogen inactivation as a proactive measure to mitigate the risk of transfusion-transmitted infections in our blood supply.”

BBD currently provides blood transfusion products and services to hospitals and patients in the Delmarva region which includes Delaware; Cecil County, Maryland; and Maryland and Virginia’s Eastern Shores. BBD supplies approximately 13,000 platelet and 21,000 plasma units each year.

The INTERCEPT Blood System reduces the risk of transfusion-transmitted infections such as Hepatitis B and C, HIV, West Nile Virus and malaria that could be present in donated blood. INTERCEPT blocks the replication of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and parasites, making them inactive.

“The majority of platelet transfusions occur in cancer patients, some of which will receive multiple units over the course of their therapy. It’s exciting and rewarding to be able to favorably impact the treatment of these patients by providing platelet products that essentially eliminate the risk of transmitting viruses and bacteria and limit the risk of transfusion mediate graft versus host disease,” said BBD Medical Director Theresa Boyd, MD.

“We are very pleased that the Blood Bank of Delmarva has chosen INTERCEPT to help protect patients against transfusion-transmitted agents such as bacteria and emerging pathogens,” commented Cerus President and CEO William “Obi” Greenman. “We look forward to supporting the Blood Bank in fulfilling its mission to improve blood safety.”

Blood Bank of Delmarva Welcomes Theresa Boyd, MD

Board-certified Pathologist Named New Medical Director

January 27, 2015 Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD) has welcomed Theresa Boyd, MD, into her new role as Medical Director.

Dr. Boyd comes to BBD with more than 20 years of experience in providing proactive leadership and high-quality patient care, and is a recognized expert in transfusion medicine, clinical laboratory science, and patient therapeutic apheresis medical services.

“We are very excited to welcome a medical director of such high caliber to the Blood Bank of Delmarva,” said Roy Roper, BBD President & CEO.  “Dr. Boyd’s proven track record in analyzing existing operations and identifying growth opportunities will help further enhance the Blood Bank’s position as a best in class blood bank.”

“I am very honored to join the Blood Bank of Delmarva as the first full-time Medical Director,” Dr. Boyd said.  “Mr. Roper has assembled an excellent team.  This team, and the fact that the Blood Bank of Delmarva is dedicated to serving the community, attracted me to the position. It feels very much like I’ve returned home.”

Dr. Boyd held a series of positions with progressively increasing responsibility at the American Red Cross, starting  as Chief Medical Officer, Carolinas Region, which included roles as Medical Director for the National Marrow Donor Program and Director of Clinical Services, culminating as Executive Medical Officer for ARC National Headquarters in Washington, DC.   Dr. Boyd recently completed an appointment at the American University of the Caribbean, where she served as Associate Professor of Pathology.  She also served as Medical Laboratory Director at SNBL Clinical Pharmacology Center, Inc., in Baltimore, Md.; Associate Professor of Pathology and Director of Transfusion services at Howard University College of Medicine;  Medical Director of Therapeutic Aphaeresis at BRT Laboratories in Baltimore, Md.;  and Director of Transfusions Medicine and Clinical Pathology at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.    Dr. Boyd has served on the Board of Directors for AABB and NMDP.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in biology from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., Dr. Boyd earned her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C.  She completed an internship in internal medicine at St. Vincent’s Hospital & Medical Center in New York, N.Y.; a residency in anatomic pathology at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C.; completing her residency training in pathology and transfusion at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.  Dr. Boyd is board-certified in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology with special board certification in Blood Banking & Transfusion Medicine.  Published in medical journals and an invited speaker and lecturer, she is also a member of the American Association of Blood Banks, the American Society for Bone Marrow Transplantation and the International Society for Blood Transfusion.

Matthew, Wilmington, DE

In December 2002, 20-year-old Matthew Jenkins felt a lump on his neck, but he wasn’t too concerned.

“That was a Saturday,” he said. “I didn’t feel it the day before, but it was about the size of a walnut.”

That Monday Jenkins went to his physician, who prescribed an antibiotic and told him to keep an eye on it for a month. At the time, Jenkins was a University of Delaware student headed to Italy for a month-long study abroad session. By the end of his trip, the lump had grown to the size of a softball.

“I knew something was wrong. I had no jawline.”

A biopsy back in the States on Feb. 6 confirmed he had Burkitt’s Lymphoma, a rare form of lymphoma affecting only about 100 Americans each year. This aggressive form of cancer spreads so quickly, it had already moved into his liver and chest cavity. Immediate treatment was necessary; Jenkins began his first round of chemotherapy just four days later.

Throughout the course of his treatment, Jenkins needed 71 units of blood to help save his life. During this short time period, he suffered several complications, including an emergency appendectomy and five other surgeries which also required blood transfusions. He was also neutropenic (which occurs when there is an abnormally low count of a type of white blood cells that fight infection), causing his platelets and red cells to be low as well. In July, he was given the all-clear: all diagnostic tests showed the cancer was gone.

Now, 12 years later, Jenkins sees his physician annually for check-ups but is confident that early treatment has caused him to have no greater risk for cancer than anyone else. Originally fearful he’d be unable to have children because of the chemotherapy, he and his wife are the proud parents of a two-year-old girl.

“My parents had been Blood Bank members for many years – donating blood and platelets before, during and after my treatment,” he said. “I was on death’s door, and blood from the Blood Bank of Delmarva saved my life.”

BBD Christiana Center Receives License Approval for PAS Platelets

January 7, 2015 – Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD) has received licensure application approval for Platelet Additive Solution (PAS) platelets for its Christiana Center.  This, along with approval earlier last year for PAS platelets at the organization’s Dover Center, positions the Blood Bank to collect and distribute more single donor platelets containing PAS.

“PAS is added to platelet donations to replace about two thirds of the plasma present in the product,” said Chris Nare, BBD’s Lead Executive—Laboratory Services & Distribution.  “Some patients who receive platelet transfusions have reactions due to the antibodies in the plasma with platelets.  By reducing the amount of plasma, you reduce the risk of reaction.  Ultimately, I believe a single donor platelet product containing PAS is safer for the patient.”  Data from current studies shows that transfusions with PAS platelets cut the risk of transfusion‐related reactions in half.

“This demonstrates the Blood Bank’s continued focus on innovation and providing new products to the community.”  The PAS platelet license approval is issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the regulatory agency for all blood centers that operate in the United States.  BBD is currently collecting and supplying PAS platelets within the State of Delaware and with this additional approval will now have more licensed PAS platelets available to distribute to the entire Delmarva region.

New Concord Center Ends Solid First Week

December 8 – Blood Bank of Delmarva’s (BBD) new Concord Donor Center, which just opened Dec. 1, has proven to be very convenient for northern Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania donors like Sara Eccleston, pictured here with Blood Collection Supervisor Lynda Letts.

As BBD’s fifth, permanent donation center, the Concord Center opened to donors on Dec. 1. The center is located at the Christiana Care Concord Health Center at 161 Wilmington-West Chester Pike (Route 202), Chadds Ford, Pa.

Concord Center Now Open

December 1, 2014 – Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD) opened its fifth, permanent donation center, the Concord Center, on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. The center is located at the Christiana Care Concord Health Center at 161 Wilmington-West Chester Pike (Rt. 202), Chadds Ford, Pa.

Joseph MacArthur, the first donor at the new location, is pictured here with Noah Osner, Lead Tech in Donor Services.

The 3,000-square-foot Concord Center has 10 donor beds and is on the second floor of the health center in Suite 2300. The center will begin with whole blood donations, but will be equipped to accommodate all donation types, including double red cell and platelets. BBD is now scheduling appointments at the new center from Monday through Friday. To schedule an appointment or for more information, visit www.DelmarvaBlood.org or call 1 888 8-BLOOD-8.