During their November meeting, members of The Foundation board of directors heard from Adrienne Mendoza, Chief Operating Officer, South Texas Blood & Tissue, on the impact of two major Foundation initiatives.
The year began with the opening of the new Boerne donor center, followed by a second in Bulverde. The Foundation helped with funding for the centers, which are located in two of the fastest-growing counties in the nation.
Both centers got off to strong starts, with 202 donors in Boerne the first month and 246 in Bulverde. The centers now are producing more than 700 units per month above previous levels.
High donation numbers and return rates reveal a strong sense of community by donors at the new centers. Boerne is averaging 400 units per month and Bulverde 300 units per month, Mendoza said.
She thanked the board for their support at this year’s Red & White Ball, which provided funding for new Alyx blood collection devices that already are making a significant impact on ongoing shortage of type O blood.
“In our community, one thing we have seen is the number of O units needed per day has increased both this year and last year, with a growth of 16% this year alone,” Mendoza said. “This growth is attributed in part to new procedures in hospitals, like kidney and liver transplants.”
Martin Landon, Chief Executive Officer of BioBridge Global, said 55-60% of the demand is for O type blood, with 40% of our donor population being type O.
In the first quarter of 2021, South Texas Blood & Tissue provided 620 units of blood per month that were converted to a double donation. The introduction of the Alyx machines has increased that number to 1,600, and growth continued in the second and third quarters.
A double red cell donation is an automated procedure that allows for the collection of two units of red cells at once. The time frame between donations is twice that of a whole blood donation, 16 weeks.
The significance of the Alyx machine is that since usually donors don’t come back in eight weeks, collecting a double-red-cell donation provides the equivalent of a second donation without the second trip.
“It’s more convenient, fast, more comfortable with a smaller needle for the donor, thanks to the Alyx and The Foundation’s hard work,” Mendoza said. “Due to this increase in satisfaction from donor experience, we are also seeing an upward trend in return donors when they are eligible again.”