New Bloodmobile Will Make Blood Donation More Convenient

October 7, 2009
The American Red Cross will debut a new state-of-the-art bloodmobile at a blood drive at Aetna in Walnut Creek on August 12. The self-contained mobile unit will expand donation options in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, making it more convenient for donors to give blood.
The bloodmobile was purchased with a $250,000 donation from John Muir Health.
“We deeply appreciate the support of John Muir Health to help us increase our commitment to meeting local health care needs,” said Jay Winkenbach, American Red Cross Northern California Blood Services chief executive officer. “Our growth in the East Bay is a reflection of our commitment to ensuring that there is always a plentiful supply of blood and numerous opportunities for people to donate that are convenient.”
The addition of the mobile unit comes at a time when the Red Cross is anxiously seeking donors to meet a summer shortage. Blood centers often experience shortages during the summer, when regular donors are away on vacation or are preoccupied with other summertime activities.
Winkenbach said the new mobile unit will help increase the amount of blood collected by the Red Cross. At present, the Northern California region must import blood from other Red Cross regions across the country in order to meet the needs of local patients in more than 30 hospitals.
The new bloodmobile can accommodate whole blood donations and double red cell donations at the same time. Double red cell collection allows a donor to provide two units of red blood cells in one donation. Double red cell donations could not be made on older bloodmobiles because the equipment used in the donation process requires too much space. The new bloodmobile has been specially designed to ensure the maximum comfort for blood donors and staff while efficiently utilizing the space. 
The Red Cross currently operates one bloodmobile in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. That mobile unit will relocate to the South Bay and allow the Red Cross to collect blood at locations where it was previously not possible to set up blood drives.
The Red Cross operates blood donation centers in Oakland, Pleasant Hill, Pleasanton, Fremont/Newark and San Jose. Mobile blood drives are held in various locations throughout the Bay Area.
Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with written parental permission), meet height and weight requirements (at least 110 pounds based on height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. Find a donation location near you or call 1-800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767).
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