Tulalip Emergency Management hosts first American Red Cross Blood Drive

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“Twenty years ago, I almost died twice,” shared Erin Taylor. “I had to have blood transfusions. So, in order to give back, I’m donating blood today.”

In a partnership with the American Red Cross, the Tulalip Emergency Management department organized and hosted an all-day blood drive on May 20. While it seemed like a dark and cloudy day throughout the Northwest, it was warm weather and clear skies on the Tulalip Reservation, permitting a beautiful view of Tulalip Bay for the blood donors who were inside the Kenny Moses Building, stretched out on medical tables and squeezing stress balls for optimum blood flow. 

“Blood drives are important because your donation saves lives,” expressed Vanessa Kelsey, Tulalip Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. “This is our very first American Red Cross Blood Drive, the first of many. Ashlynn (Danielson) [Emergency Preparedness Manager] is on the American Red Cross Board and that’s how we got set-up with them. When Red Cross reached out to us, we secured the building and made it happen.”

According to the American Red Cross, 4.5 million lives are saved each year by blood transfusions. The non-profit also claims that every two seconds, someone in the U.S. is in the need of blood, and just one donation can save up to three lives.

Just moments after arriving at the Kenny Moses Building to donate blood himself, Tulalip Bay Fire Department Training Captain Chris Finley stated, “In the medical world, there’s always a shortage of blood for people who need it, whether that’s little kids who have cancer or people who suffer traumas. Anything we can do to help out – absolutely, why not. I would recommend everybody who’s in good health to donate blood; hospitals are always hurting for more blood.”

The Emergency Management team had a full schedule on the day of their first blood drive. After it was all said and done, the American Red Cross reported, “last Thursday, the Tulalip Tribes collected thirty-three units of blood, saving up to 99 lives. [We] can’t tell you enough how amazing this is for a first-time drive.” 

The Office of Emergency Management is planning to host more blood drives on a regular basis, with the next drive occurring on July 29th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Tulalip Dining Hall. If you are interested in making a donation, please schedule an appointment by contacting 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit RedCrossBlood.org and enter: TulalipTribes. 

The American Red Cross also has a phone app where you can make appointments, track your personal donations and earn badges the more you donate. Vanessa and Ashlynn are calling upon anybody who is eligible to donate at the next drive. And to speed-up the process during your appointment, the team also encourages donors to fill out the American Red Cross RapidPass prior to their scheduled donation time.