Saving lives isn’t something new for Melissa Delbosque.
Her experience includes working at a hospital, a nursing home and a kidney clinic.
But even with her healthcare background, South Texas Blood & Tissue gave her new ways to make a difference when she started five years ago.
“I had never donated blood before,” she said. “In my hometown of Odessa, there were no blood drives. It was something we didn’t do. Starting here was the first time I donated blood and signed up for the National Marrow Donor Program.”
She also never thought her way to save lives would evolve to what it is today.
“I started as a Donor Advocate Nurse for blood donors for eligibility or reactions,” Melissa said. “Then I became a Donor Workup Nurse, helping stem cell donors through screening, health questionnaires, and transportation for cancer patients waiting on a match on the National Marrow Donor Program.”
From the countless donors she has helped, two have stayed on her mind: Flying a donor on a helicopter during the Texas winter storm last year and coordinating an emergency trip to New Jersey for a stem cell donor in less than 12 hours.
“It was amazing how they were willing to do all that,” said Melissa.
In her current job as Lead Donor Workup Nurse, she deals with training and standard operating procedures for her team to help people donate blood—or specific types of blood cells—needed for research into new therapies for patients in need.
Her team is part of the new Center for Advanced Therapies that includes tissue, cord blood and birth tissue, apheresis services and clinical research.
“Everybody always goes above and beyond,” Melissa said. “Everyone is mission-driven. When you work with people who love their jobs, it’s rewarding and makes it a nice place to be.”
The recent recognition of 2021 BioBridge Global Employee of the Year caught her off-guard – in a good way.
“I was so surprised and so happy,” she said. “I always felt appreciated but this was a whole other level. It was great.”
The award also brought a sense of gratitude to everyone who guided her.
“I love this company,” she said. “I’ve learned so much from everybody. It’s amazing. I’ve grown so much as a person here, and I thank them so much.”
She’s also grateful to her team members, who all practice the ASPIRE values on a daily basis.
“My team is amazing too,” she said. “They’re ready to do anything. We have respect for each other. We all do what we have to do. We’re all coming up with new ideas on how we can make things better.”