The United Christian Parish will host an Inova blood drive on July 30 in an effort organized by church members to support one of their own.
The Inova Bloodmobile will be in the Reston church’s parking lot at 11508 North Shore Drive from 1:30 to 6 p.m. that day, organzier Marilyn Silvey tells Reston Now.
A former 40-year resident of Reston, Silvey now lives in a retirement community in Ashburn, but she remains a member of the United Christian Parish.
She started organizing the blood drive as a show of support for fellow parish member Mary Anne, whose last name she declined to share to protect her friend’s privacy.
According to Silvey, Mary Anne has a blood disease that requires her to receive regular transfusions. Typically, she gets a transfusion every two weeks, but her appointments have recently been cut back to once every three weeks due to a nationwide blood shortage, leaving her weak to the point where she had to start using a wheelchair.
“There is always a shortage in summer, as people focus on vacations instead of on saving lives, but this year it is worse because of the lack of usual donors during the covid pandemic,” Silvey said by email. “So we are holding this for all the Mary Annes in this area who need blood to stay alive.”
An “atypically high” number of emergency room visits and trauma cases have depleted the nation’s blood inventory, the American Red Cross said on World Blood Donor Day (June 14), reporting that hospitals with trauma centers have seen a 10% increase in demand this year compared to 2019.
The Red Cross says these cases often require a significant amount of blood for doctors to have a chance to save the patient’s life. The increased demand also comes from an influx of patients who had delayed receiving care earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of late April, Inova’s red blood cell inventory was in the red for all types of blood. Its supply of O positive blood was especially depleted, as the health care system had only 30 units available out of a desired 300 units.
Silvey says the United Christian Parish’s goal for the upcoming blood drive is to get 100 potential donors. Masks and photo identification will be required for donors, who should allow up to an hour to go through the process, Silvey says.
Appointments can be made online or by calling 1-866-BLOODSAVES (256-6372). The sponsor code for the United Christian Parish drive is 8632.
Silvey says questions can be directed to coordinator Deborah Aschenbach at 703-585-8216.
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INOVA Blood Drive is Today — The bloodmobile will be stationed next to the pavilion from 1-6 p.m. today. Appointments to donate blood can be scheduled online or by calling 1-866-256-6372. [Reston Town Center]
Absentee Voting in Full Swing — Absentee voting, which kickstarted last Thursday, across 10 locations in Fairfax County is underway. Locations will be open Mondays through Saturdays until Saturday, Nov. 2 at 5 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]
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INOVA Blood Drive in the Area Today — The bloodmobile will be parked at the pavilion in RTC from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. today. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 1-866-256-6372 or in-person. [Reston Town Center]
Dive into Disaster Preparedness — Receive basic training on how to prepare for local disasters and hazards, as well as basic disaster response skills, at the county’s Fire and Rescue Academy. Classes will take place between August and September on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7-11 p.m. [Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department]
Farmers & Makers Market is Today — Local farmers and artisans come to Reston Town Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m to sell a variety of items. The market ends in November. [Reston Town Center]
Photo by Mike Reyes
Every day, hospitals in Northern Virginia have a lot of patients in need of what we all have — blood.
Monthly, an Inova Blood Donor Services bloodmobile comes to Reston Town Center to help collect precious inventory for those patients. The mobile service is at Reston Town Center today — and the fourth Tuesday of every month — from noon to 6 p.m.
“We encourage everybody to go out and donate,” said Wally Paraiso, mobile ops team leader for Inova Blood Donor Services.
Paraiso said the bloodmobile has been making its regular visits to Reston Town Center for about five years. It sets up on Discovery Street near the pavilion.
Sharing figures from the past three months, Paraiso said the Reston bloodmobile has been averaging about two dozen donors a month. The number of donors varies — 35 came in March, but only 18 came in April. Paraiso said it is important to keep blood supplies up.
“Every day, there are a lot of patients who need blood,” he said.
Donors receive a T-shirt (while supplies last) and parking validation for up to two hours. Prospective donors are encouraged to pre-register online or call 866-BLOODSAVES and use sponsor code 1000.
If the Reston Town Center drive isn’t convenient, Paraiso said there are several other drives across Virginia, Maryland and D.C. on a daily basis. Residents are encouraged to search Inova’s website to find one that’s right for them.
“It doesn’t matter what blood type you are,” Paraiso said. “As long as you’re healthy and well, you’re eligible to donate.”
The bloodmobile will next be at Reston Town Center on Tuesday, June 27.
They are asking Northern Virginia residents, if they are able, to donate blood at one of Inova’s fixed site blood donor centers as soon as possible.
Donors may schedule an appointment, or find a donor center by visiting www.inova.org/donateblood or calling 1-866-BLOODSAVES (866-256-6372).
The closest fixed donation site to Reston is on Nokes Boulevard near Dulles Town Center. See all area sites, get directions and make an appointment on Inova’s website.
Terri Craddock, Director of Inova Blood Services, says Inova shut down collection operations for 2 1/2 days. That’s the first time in 50 years such a thing has happened, she said.
“The inventory of blood at Inova has been severely impacted by Winter Storm Jonas as we were unable to collect these lifesaving products for our patients over the last 2 ½ days,” Craddock said in a release.
“During the height of the storm, we had heavy usage of blood products at some of our hospitals. With this increase in usage and decrease in collections, we need blood donors to answer our call. Without reaching our daily collections goal of 250 units a day, our shelves are running empty. This insufficient inventory leaves local hospitals vulnerable in response to emergency patients as well as provides challenges in meeting in or out-patient procedures requiring the use of blood and blood products.”
Also impacting the shortage: Inova’s mobile drives — which are responsible for more than 70 percent of collections — will be canceled this week as they usualally take place in office parking lots.
“Mobile Blood Drives are cancelling, participation at business blood drives are down because employees have the option to telework and quite honestly, with all the snow, we can’t park our bloodmobile in an area safe enough for the donors to give,” said Carolyn Bayless, Mobile Operations Manager.
All blood types are needed. To give blood, donors must be feeling generally well on the day of their donation, be at least 16 years old (with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and not have donated blood in the past eight weeks (56 days) for whole blood or 112 days for double red cells. Platelet donors should not take aspirin or aspirin-based products within 48 hours prior to donation.
Inova Bloodmobile/file photo