Support Crucial Blood Donations
Pacific Northwest summer is nearly upon us, which means blissfully longer days and much-awaited fun in the sun with beach excursions, camping trips, and backyard BBQs. Unfortunately, this time of year also marks the start of our region’s increased blood needs.
Appointments to donate often drop during summer months when schools are out of session (meaning fewer blood drives) and families are away traveling. This year, however, there’s an extra incentive for those who donate during June — the possibility of winning one’s own summer celebration – from a VIP package to Seattle’s Seafair and tickets to Portland’s Pickathon music festival to simply elevating gatherings in your own backyard.
Curt Bailey, CEO of Bloodworks Northwest, explains that chronic blood shortages become a significant concern during summertime for several reasons, due to increased patient need, decreased donations, and fewer people showing up to their appointments. “Blood is essential medicine,” he says, “and blood donors are critical to public health. There is an urgent need to save lives in our community, and we must all do our part locally to ensure a safe and reliable blood supply. Hospitals need donors to donate throughout the summer season and make it a lifesaving habit!”
Summer has always been a challenging time for blood collection, yet the pandemic has made it far more difficult to ensure there’s an adequate supply. “We need 1,000 donations every day to help save lives in our community,” Bailey explains. “That blood saves the lives of those involved in traumatic accidents or suffering life-threatening diseases such as cancer,” Baily emphasizes that a drop in community participation puts surgeries and patients at risk. He strongly encourages folks to make an appointment, whether they’re first-timers or longtime donors.
“Chances are, giving blood is somewhere on your to-do list,” he says, “but, let’s face it – the summer months get busy with great summertime activities and outdoor fun to experience, even in our backyards with friends and family. We could all use an extra nudge to roll up our sleeves and donate to end the blood shortage. Seattle Seafair is an iconic summer festival. We’re grateful to have their partnership, inspiring donors with a chance to experience it all like a celebrity because our blood donors are the real stars of the show.”
The Seafair VIP experience ($2,000 value) spotlights this annual non-profit festival that spans 10 weeks and touches more than two million people through seven signature events and 25-plus community events. “For over 70 years, nothing has been more synonymous with summer in the Northwest than Seafair,” says CEO Eric Corning. “And as much as Seafair is committed to uniting and celebrating our diverse communities by offering affordable fun and activities, we also recognize the challenges and impact the pandemic has had on our community – including the critical shortage of blood that keeps our community healthy.”
During Seafair Summer Fourth at Gas Works Park, the winner is treated to VIP parking, VIP reserved seating, dessert, and beverages (alcoholic and non-). For the Alaska Airlines Seafair Torchlight Parade (July 30 at Westlake Park), the winner gets valet parking, reserved roadside seating in Westlake Park, food, and non-alcoholic beverages, and for Seafair Weekend Festival (August 6 and 7 at Genesee Park), they get a two-day VIP shuttle, reserved waterfront seating, food, and beverages. There is one winner – and the experience is for two people.
“As the pandemic restrictions loosen, we all look forward to Seafair and our community making memories together that last a lifetime,” added Corning. “And as we go about returning to activities this summer, we also encourage our community to donate blood and save lives. One pint equals one life. Together we can do this.”
Other contest treasures range from bringing home a new Traeger BBQ or an Ooni Pizza Oven (each valued at $500) to enjoying the Pickathon Music Festival Prize Package, showcasing the all-ages music extravaganza that takes place among the trees of Pendarvis Farm, just outside of Portland (from August 4 to 6). This alluring collection includes four Friday-to-Sunday concert passes (value $1,400), a vehicle parking pass ($90), and four shuttle passes ($120).
The SAVOR LIFE. SAVE A LIFE. initiative permeates our culinary communities throughout the summer, too. Chef Jason Wilson feels compelled to continue raising awareness about blood donation because he knows we must remain diligent in spreading the message about how each of us can act to help save lives. “One pint of blood can save one life,” he adds, “and those of us who are in a position to donate can and should step up to preserve the health and safety of our communities. I know that helping to raise awareness about blood donation this summer can result in saving lives.”
In recent months, local chefs, restaurants, winemakers, breweries, producers, and farmers' markets have come together with Bloodworks Northwest to help raise awareness about the region’s critically low blood supply. “Any time you dine out, the order in, share drinks with friends, or interact with our culinary community in other ways, you have a chance to learn about the blood shortage and pledge to donate blood,” Wilson says. “Simply put, any time you go out to savor life this summer through food and beverage, you have a chance to save a life at the same time.”
Wilson says he’s been working with so many amazing people and organizations in the culinary community over the past few months, and it’s proven some of the most rewarding work in which he’s ever been involved. “It’s amazing to see how the industry has pulled together in a unified effort to help improve the health and safety of our community,” he says. “When people come into our restaurant, they can learn about the critical situation we are in regarding our blood supply, and they have a chance to take action to pledge to donate blood immediately. It feels amazing to be a part of immediate change like that, and to know it is directly saving lives.”
For more information, please visit the bloodworksnw.org/savorlife.