Celebrating 60 Years of Watsonville Blood Drives

July 12, 2011

A 60th anniversary is traditionally celebrated with the exchange of a very valuable gift – a diamond. But the partnership between the American Red Cross and the community of Watsonville has produced something much more precious. The gift of life.

The American Red Cross Northern California Blood Services Region will be celebrating 60 years of blood drives in Watsonville on July 25 before the Watsonville Community Blood Drive at the Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust. During the event, the Red Cross will recognize some of its 10 gallon blood donors.

The Red Cross held its first blood drive within the city limits at the Watsonville Women’s Club on January 29, 1951. Ten days before the drive, the Red Cross trained volunteer registered nurses, nurses’ aides, typists, canteen workers and receptionists in Watsonville to staff the event. The goal of that initial drive was to collect 175 pints of blood. 

Today, Red Cross nurses and phlebotomists are no longer volunteers, and collections staff receives twelve weeks of training once hired by the organization. The goal for the July 25 drive is 41 pints of blood. But now those pints can be separated into multiple parts (red cells, platelets and plasma); and each donation could be used to help more than one patient.

“While the procedures have changed since that first drive, the motivation for people to help others remains the same,” Northern California Blood Services CEO Jeff Meyer said. “The Watsonville blood drives wouldn’t have survived this long if donors didn’t come out each time to give to those in need. The Red Cross is proud to have worked with the residents of Watsonville for the past 60 years, and we look forward to our next milestone anniversary.”

The Red Cross has held blood drives in Watsonville every other month since 2005. In honor of this special anniversary, and as a testament to the dedication of Watsonville donors, the organization is going to start holding the Watsonville Community Blood Drive every month – beginning with the July 25 drive. 

“We know Watsonville residents realize the importance of blood donation,” Meyer said. “And we think we have a large pool of dedicated blood donors to help make this community drive successful each month.”


Who: American Red Cross

What: 60th Anniversary of Watsonville Blood Drives

Where: Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust, 85 Nielson Street in Watsonville

When: July 25, 2011 – Celebration from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.; Blood Drive from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.