The Challenges of Blood Collection

Over the last decade, the dynamics of blood donation, collection, and distribution have changed dramatically. An aging population, a more dispersed workforce, and greater travel abroad are among the factors making blood collection increasingly difficult. If these trends persist, a critical blood shortage could result. Now more than ever, greater public awareness must be raised to overcome this challenge. It’s more than donating blood. Blood Science Foundation supports an entire system of people, technology, equipment, research, and philanthropy that works behind the scenes to supply our blood.

The Blood Collection Ecosystem:
The Science Behind the Supply

From cultivating blood donor loyalty to a blood transfusion at a patient’s bedside, Blood Science Foundation, in support of Vitalant, is responsible for the fundraising efforts aiding and improving the entire blood donation ecosystem in the regions we serve. These efforts continue to save countless lives.

Donor Awareness

There is no substitute for blood. The only way to establish a safe and ample blood supply in support of an effective healthcare system is through community donations and financial support. To this end, a loyal donor base must be recruited and maintained. This requires outreach and public awareness efforts.

Donation Facilities

Donation centers and remote blood drives are at the core of Vitalant’s collection efforts. These centers and mobile donation vehicles must be safe, clean, and modern. Blood Science Foundation raises funds to innovate and update these assets as well as find new ways to collect and test blood donated by the public.

Laboratory Services and
Blood Testing

All blood collected must be carefully tested and screened for obvious safety reasons. Blood Science Foundation supports the people, technology, and procedures required to ensure the highest safety standards are met. Blood collected by Vitalant is also used in research efforts to track the spread of disease in real-time, develop antibody treatments for viruses, and gain a deeper insight into epidemiological events.

Inventory and Distribution

The shelf-life for a single unit of blood is 42 days. Blood Science Foundation is funding research into methods that will increase this shelf-life, expanding the use and effectiveness of each unit of blood. Vitalant plays a key role in the safe and timely distribution of donated blood to the hospital systems it serves.

Clinical Services

Vitalant also contributes to the treatment requirements of stem cell transplant patients who are waiting for lifesaving hematological transplants worldwide. The services provided include centralized transfusion services, an immunohematology reference lab, public cord blood banking, and total blood management.

Patient Transfusion

Whether it’s for an emergency room procedure, ongoing cancer care, or a life-saving transplant operation, all the work Vitalant and Blood Science Foundation provide translates directly into saving lives. Without blood, these medical procedures wouldn’t be possible.

Key Areas of Impact

Overcoming Urgent Blood Shortages

Like many products and services, blood is subject to the laws of supply and demand. Its shelf life is relatively brief; therefore Vitalant’s blood supply requires constant replenishment. In the Pittsburgh region, for instance, approximately 50% of the blood supply is locally donated with a small portion being rejected for safety reasons. Blood collection is also seasonal with the summer months and holidays seeing decreased activity at donation centers. To overcome these challenges and maintain an adequate blood supply, Vitalant must purchase and/or import blood from other regions of the country. In times of vital necessity, your financial contributions can support the purchase of additional blood required for urgent, life-saving medical procedures.

Pledge your support.
Help the Blood Science Foundation advance cutting-edge research, provide a safe and ample blood supply, and meet the healthcare needs of patients in the regions we serve.

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