Vol. 4, 2016-2017
The need for blood donations is something that does not go away even during a world-wide pandemic. This past Sunday, the Knights of Columbus Lake Jackson Council 6812 out of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, sponsored a blood drive which from the beginning promised to be special. The Knights partner with the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center to hold drives about every eight weeks and has a steady following of 60 - 70 reliable donors resulting in 70 – 85 units donated. But the most recent drive on May 3 more than doubled these numbers and set an all-time Council 6812 record with 153 donors coming and 175 units donated at a time when blood is needed the most!
Yet this blood drive took a little more effort than the others to make happen. As the date for the scheduled May 3 drive approached, stay-at-home orders were coming into play and St. Michael’s premises were closed. The Blood Center shared with Rich Kaus, Council 6812 Blood Drive Coordinator, that at the onset of the pandemic the number of surgeries were curtailed and the need for blood saw a dip. As time passed though, the blood supply dropped while holding drives became more difficult due to limited venues and donors, especially older ones, doing what was best for them by staying at home.
After consultation with Lake Jackson City Mayor and fellow Knight Bob Sipple and Rev. Dwight Canizares, Pastor of St. Michael the Archangel, it was decided to hold the drive and work with the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center to ensure safe protocols were followed. While the normal KC Blood Drive is a mix of walk-ins after Sunday Mass and scheduled appointments, this drive was by appointment only to ensure that the number of people in the facility would be controlled. Rich, along with Montriesia Gourrier, Account Manager for the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, got the word out about this drive, and the response was tremendous with appointments surging to 180. This required Rich and Montriesia to focus on logistics and the Blood Center responded with increased staffing and donations stations to make sure people could get processed quickly and limit their time out of the home. Spacing in the Msgr. Leo Wleczyk Hall for the waiting area, registration and donation stations as well as the recovery area was planned to ensure social distancing to keep people safe.
Once things got set up, donors were processed quickly over the five-hour blood drive and even a few walk-ins were able to join. Rich was impressed with how smoothly it all went and expressed his gratitude for the collaboration with the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center and to all those that helped make this happen and most especially to the 153 people who came out to give the gift of life! Montriesia also expressed her appreciation and shared that people can find out more information about blood drives in their area by going to www.giveblood.org.
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