Blood Bank of Alaska vital to senior care
July 1, 2018
On February 15, the Blood Bank of Alaska (BBA) celebrated its second anniversary in the new facility it developed to serve Alaska’s patients in need. It has been a robust two years, and we continue to meet our primary objective of service to patients by virtue of the state’s medical community. On July 25, the BBA will celebrate its 56th anniversary.
Being Alaska’s only blood gathering and processing non-profit entity, the BBA has consistently served with distinction, and plans to continue doing so for many years to come. In view of Alaska’s rapidly growing senior population, this is good news indeed. Seniors constitute the largest consumer segment for blood and blood products in the general population. And, by the way, half of our board of directors are retired Alaska seniors.
The new physical plant in Anchorage is providing expected benefits, and our fiscal management is meeting its goals. We are about to embark on preparing for our chief growth priority, in-house blood testing, thanks to new laboratory space. This service will allow us to process a variety of FDA-mandated blood tests in our new facility, and eventually not have to ship vials out-of-state. The savings alone will be noteworthy, but this operation will also allow us to provide testing service to other blood banks, thus enhancing our revenues. We will be independent, and no longer a hostage of grounded commercial air service during volcanic disasters.
Another program we are launching is organizing a cadre of community volunteers to assist with routine blood bank activities. Is there a better segment of our community to approach for volunteers than Alaska’s seniors? We plan to fill a variety of volunteer needs, including support for donors giving blood, art projects, tour guides and other on-site activities.
The Blood Bank of Alaska has been pleased to provide blood and blood products to all military medical facilities in Alaska, free of charge, for the past 56 years. Veterans using the services of Elmendorf and Bassett military hospitals benefit from this policy, as well.
Thirty-seven percent of the American population is eligible to give blood, but only 8 percent do. Most of humanity depends upon a relatively few dedicated volunteers to provide blood for their medical needs. One out of three of us will require blood or blood products in our lifetime, moreso among our senior population.
We invite you to visit Alaska’s blood center at 1215 Airport Heights Drive, Anchorage, to consider giving blood. We also offer public tours of our state-of-the-art facility for most any organization, including scouting and school groups. Contact us at (907) 222-5603 to schedule.
Christopher Mello, a Blood Bank of Alaska volunteer board member and current chairman, is a retired administrator from the North Slope Borough and the Alaska Energy Authority. Robert W. Scanlon is CEO and has an extensive background in medical facility administration.