1 June 2009 Volume 8, No 2 community lifeline inside Saving Lives Tour 3 Volunteer spotlight 4 RIBC's 30th Anniversary 5 First Time Donors 7 Blood Center and Women's & Infants launch pilot cord blood program The Rhode Island Blood Center and Women & Infants Hospital began a 12-month pilot program on May 11 th to determine the feasibility of establishing the first public cord blood bank in New England. Partnering with the New Jersey Cord Blood Bank, operated by Community Blood Services of New Jersey, umbilical cord blood is being collected by the Rhode Island Blood Center staff from newborn babies born at Women & Infants and shipped to the Community Blood Services public cord bank in Allendale, New Jersey, for processing and storage. Testing of the cord blood units will be performed at both centers. Cord blood is a source of lifesaving stem cells for the treatment of dozens of diseases such as cancers, leukemia, anemia, and genetic disorders. Even though cord blood centers have been operating for well over a decade, the utilization of cord blood stem cells is still relatively new. Research continues to determine if cord blood stem cells can successfully be used in the treatment of such diseases as diabetes, Parkinson s disease, cerebral palsy, heart disease, stroke, and brain injuries. Already, it has provided a cure for the treatment of sickle cell disease. Dr. Roger Mrowiecz of the New Jersey Cord Blood Bank checks frozen cord blood at the blood bank's facility in Allendale, NJ. On what is the 30 th anniversary year of the Rhode Island Blood Center we are embarking on one of our most exciting ventures, said Scott Asadorian, continued on page 6 Don t ever suggest to Matt Prato or his mother, Sue that giving up is an option. It has been the will to fight, that sense of tomorrow that has accompanied Matt on a difficult journey these past several years. Diagnosed with Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in November 2005, Matt has endured hundreds of days in the hospital, hundreds of blood transfusions, a bone marrow transplant, and an umbilical cord blood transplant. He s relapsed, been told his chances are slim, 'you have to keep believing' continued on page 2 The Community Lifeline is a publication of the Rhode Island Blood Center
2 page 2 June 2009 Matt (from page 1) and now, after the umbilical cord blood transplant, has been in remission for nearly two years. At 17, he is quick witted, full of spirit, and determined. What I used to do, they (the doctors) would come in with a weird face on like it was serious. They would act like it s the end of the world. And it s not. You have to keep believing. You just look forward. You never think that you re going to get stuck here forever, said Matt. Matt is the youngest of four children, one of whom, Maggie, died years ago, at 14 months after a four-month battle with cancer, a tumor that was discovered in her kidney. Maggie, Sue said, was a happy child, crawling on the floor when Sue reached to grab her around the waste, only to feel the lump that would soon be diagnosed as a malignant tumor. They tried to shrink the tumor with chemotherapy, Sue said. But four months later, Maggie succumbed to the disease. When Matt was diagnosed, we felt we did our time, said Sue. It s not going to happen to us twice. Matt had recovered from lyme disease. He was having difficulty breathing, and had to stop running while in gym class at school. The teacher, Sue said, told Matt to sit down. The next day it happened again. I was afraid it was lyme disease again, so I pushed for blood work, she said. We went to the hospital. More blood work. A spinal tap and he received a really tough course within a week. With AML, Sue said, the only chance of survival was a marrow transplant. His sister Emily, then 22 and the mother of a six-month-old, was a perfect match. He relapsed a little over a year after the transplant, Sue said. They (the doctors) left it up to us. They weren t sure. The second one (transplant), your odds were a lot worse. Matt wasn t ready to give up. And neither was Sue. Time was a factor, so they chose to have an umbilical cord blood transplant. This was his only chance of survival, Sue said. We didn t have time to look for a match. That was his best chance. Now, nearly two years later, Matt is back in school, as a freshman at Lincoln High School. He s lost about three years because of his hospitalizations and is still not ready to join in the pick up games of basketball, baseball or football like he used to. But he and his mom are certain about their gratitude for blood donors and for the mothers who have the foresight to donate their child s umbilical cord to a cord blood bank. It was the generosity of eight women who contributed cord blood that saved Mat s life, Sue said. And about blood donation, she said, it only takes 45 minutes to donate blood. It s not like you can t spare it. It s saving somebody s life. He (Matt) had hundreds of transfusions. And he s just one child. Newsletter Committee Frank Prosnitz, editor. Manager, Community Development Renelda Maurice-Simmons, Communications Assistant Blood Center Administration Lawrence F. Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Asadorian, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Carolyn T. Young, M.D., Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Host a Blood Drive! Do you know a company or organization that might host a blood drive? Call Frank Prosnitz Community Development Manager
3 page 3 June 2009 the Blood Drive notebook Volunteers WARWICK DONOR CENTER 400 Bald Hill Road, Warwick PORTSMOUTH HIGH SCHOOL Education Lane, Portsmouth tour Monday, July 27th 1pm to 6pm LINCOLN MALL 622 George Washington Highway, Lincoln RAMADA SEEKONK 940 Fall River Ave., Seekonk THE VILLAGE INN Pier Market Place, Narragansett Moses Brown students volunteered at the Blood Center as part of the school's Community Service Day. The students also received a Seasons' Pass print for the school's hosting four blood drives this past year. Pictured from left to right: Sandy Richter (teacher), Kayla Authelet, Dominque Banneruan, Stephanie Tsang, Will Donahue, Faith Cooper, Yixin Sun, Tori Gray, and Blood Center Account manager Danielle Dunn. Join WBRU and the Rhode Island Blood Center on the Saving Lives Tour. Donate blood on Monday, July 27th and you ll be entered into a drawing for a WBRU Monster Concert Prize Pack! Follow us on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter The Rhode Island Blood Center wants you to join our conversation on our social media sites on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. We're updating our sites often, providing the most up to date information for our donors, and giving an opportunity to instantly give us your story and impressions. Check us out: myspace.com/interactwithribc; twitter.com/ ribloodcenter; and facebook.com (Rhode Island Blood Center). Exeter proclamation The Exeter Town Council recognized the Blood Center on its 30th anniversary, The council's proclamation noted that since the Blood Center was founded there have been more than 2,500 donations at blood drives held in Exeter. RI Blood Center Golf Tournament The Rhode Island Blood Center is holding our 24th annual golf tournament on Monday, July 20 at Warwick Country Club. Enjoy golf, lunch and dinner for $175 per individual or $700 for a foursome. Contact Laurie Parent at for more information.
4 page 4 June 2009 volunteer spotlight Volunteers honored Anne Corkery, a long-time volunteer at the Rhode Island Blood Center, was selected as the Blood Center s Volunteer of the Year, recognizing outstanding service to blood donors. She received her award at the Rhode Island Blood Center s annual volunteer luncheon, held at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick. This year s theme was sports, and volunteers were greeted with a special message from former New England Patriots lineman Joe Andruzzi. Andruzzi, who could not attend the event, is a cancer survivor, who constantly thanks blood donors for helping to save his life. Besides her award as volunteer of the year, Corkery was also selected as greeter/refreshment volunteer of the year. Volunteers in the refreshment area not only Christian Felix (right), pictured here with Chris Macri, the Rhode Island Blood Center's Volunteer Coordinator, was honored as the Administrative Volunteer of the Year. Anne Corkery was honored as the Blood Center's Volunteer of the Year. She's pictured here with Chris Macri, the Rhode Island Blood Center's volunteer coordinator. serve refreshments to individuals after their donation, but also watch for any signs of a reaction. Also earning special recognition were John Kennally and Christian Felix. Kennally was the driver of the year. Drivers typically will pick up blood products at blood drives, bringing the blood products to the Blood Center s laboratory at its main facility at 405 Promenade St., Providence. Felix was recognized as administrative volunteer of the year. He works in the Blood Center s main office in the work room. Here he is integrally involved in helping to prepare publicity for the various blood drives around the state. Overall, the Blood Center has some 125 active volunteers. Many were recognized at the luncheon for years and hours of service. Volunteer Greeter/Refreshment: greet and direct donors, pass out refreshments Days, times and sites flexible, weekdays and weekends available Driver: pick up boxed blood at mobile drives Days, times and sites flexible, weekdays and weekends available Clerical: help us with various mailings and projects Providence and weekdays only, days and times flexible Learn more by calling! Volunteer Coordinator
5 page 5 June 2009 the Rhode Island Blood Center celebrates its 30th anniversary Since its founding some 30 years ago, it is fair to suggest that the Rhode Island Blood Center or rather blood donors who have been recruited by the Blood Center have saved enough lives to repopulate Rhode Island at least twice over. Founded on May 1, 1979, the Blood Center, now considered among the elite such facilities nationwide, has facilitated more than 2,076,000 donations from more than 443,000 distinct donors. From its humble beginnings in a rented facility in a former Anderson Little Store at University Heights in Providence, and with all rented equipment, the Blood Center now has five fixed donor locations, five donor coaches, and some 350 employees who are involved in every aspect of blood collection and testing, and various business functions. Formed by the hospitals in Rhode Island to develop a more efficient way of collecting, testing and distributing blood products, the Blood Center has achieved that mission and more. Each day it collects some 280 pints of blood, with the blood products destined for hospitals primarily in Rhode Island, but also in Massachusetts and Connecticut and beyond. Charlie Mosher, the Blood Center s first director, teamed with Dr. Ronald Yankee, the first medical director, to start the Blood Center basically from scratch, said Mosher, who now serves as executive director of Blood Centers of America, a cooperative of community blood centers. Mosher and Yankee began their efforts in March of 1979, and Mosher said they were given 60 days to put together a blood center in the face of a national trucking strike and with a limited budget. Beginning with 40 employees, rented equipment and mostly imported blood from throughout New England and New York State, the Blood Center went about a mostly grass roots effort to build a donor system. It was a system, Mosher said, founded on the concept that people would take the opportunity to donate blood to help other individuals. Helping others remains the primary motivation for blood donors. And the grass roots formula is imbedded Charlie Mosher, the Blood Center's first director. in virtually every blood donor system, and is the basis upon which the Rhode Island Blood Center has grown. While initially the Rhode Island Blood Center relied upon neighbors to maintain an adequate blood supply, roles have somewhat reversed, with Rhode Island supplying hospitals in neighboring Connecticut and Massachusetts, besides Rhode Island. We are extremely proud of our growth, and our increasing ability to assure that not only do we have safe and adequate blood products for Rhode Island, but can help our neighbors assure that patients have blood products when they need them, said Lawrence Smith, the Blood Center s Chief Executive Officer. To understand the full impact of the Blood Center s operations is to recognize that with each donation it is possible to save up to three lives. That alone would mean that donors potentially have saved the equivalent of six times Rhode Island s population. We can t underestimate the tremendous contribution that our donors have made to the health and welfare of residents throughout our region, Smith said. Scott Asadorian, the Blood Center s Chief Operating Officer, said that while we are proud of our past accomplishments, we are always looking at new ways to improve our operations and provide even greater life saving services to the region. The best way for residents to join in celebrating our anniversary, is to make just one extra blood donation this year, continuing to help us fulfill our mission of saving lives.
6 page 6 June 2009 cord blood (from page 1) the Blood Center s chief operating officer. We are hopeful that our pilot program will prove that a cord blood bank is not only feasible in New England, but will become an important part of the development of this technology, helping to save thousands of lives. Dr. Dennis Todd, PhD, president and CEO of Community Blood Services, said that in the United States between 60,000 to 90,000 cord blood units are currently stored in public banks, about half the goal of the National Marrow Donor Program. He said there have been upwards of 10,000 cord blood transplants worldwide, Many of these patients, he said, were unable to find a bone marrow match through marrow donor programs and a cord blood transplant was their last hope. Under the pilot program, the Rhode Island Blood Center is working closely with Women & Infants, the state s largest birthing hospital. The Blood Center has initiated an extensive educational campaign to inform parents of the importance of donating cord blood. Cord blood donation is an incredible, painless way to save someone s life, said Dr. Carolyn Young, the Rhode Island Blood Center s Chief Medical Officer. There is no controversy, unlike embryonic stem cells. The cord blood collection is performed after the birth of the baby and the stem cells may be frozen indefinitely for use when needed. There are no fees to donate cord blood or to store it for public use. The Rhode Island Blood Center does the initial screening and testing. Cord blood units are sent to Community Blood Services only if certain criteria are met. Women & Infants is pleased to be partnering Technician at the New Jersey Cord Blood Bank testing a cord blood sample. with the Rhode Island Blood Center on such an important initiative, said W. Dwayne Lawrence, MD, chief of pathology and laboratory medicine at Women & Infants. The possibilities are astounding for treating life-threatening illnesses using the readily available stem cells found in umbilical cord blood. How to participate Cord blood will be collected by the Rhode Island Blood Center staff who will be at Women & Infants Hospital. Some obstetricians may also participate in the collection program. If you are interested in donating your cord blood, or learning more about the program, please call or us at Reminders Seasons' Pass Donate four times before February 28, 2010 and receive a print of an Anthony Tomaselli painting. For more information call
7 page 7 June 2009 the From different generations they share the experience of becoming first time blood donors Angela McKeen, who just finished her junior year at Johnston High School, and David Snow, who is an associate faciiities director at the Community College of Rhode Island, both were first time donors this year. One is a high school student, 17, the other a 50- year-old associate facilities director at a local college. They ve never met, but they share a particular bond both recently were first time blood donors. For Angela McKeen, who just completed her junior year at Johnston High School, it was the power of a presentation at her school by a blood recipient that motivated her to donate. For David Snow it was the convenience, promotion of the drive, and encouragement of a friend, who is a frequent donor. It was the mere fact that it was on campus, said Snow, who just started working at the Community College of Rhode Island in November. He said he d worked in manufacturing before, but that none of his employers had ever hosted a blood drive. While McKeen and Snow are generations apart, their experiences were similar. It was not anything I expected, said Snow, who lives in Barrington and donated at CCRI s Lincoln campus. It turned out to be painless, surprisingly quick. Personally, I felt a little bit of pride. I felt very good about this. I was really nervous when I donated, McKeen said. I really don t like needles, but it was a lot easier than I thought. I felt good, understanding that it saves lives. Blood drives at colleges and high school schools produce a large number of first time donors, many students, but some among faculty and staff. The schools community is an important part of the blood donation system, accounting for more than 10 percent of the blood collected annually by the Rhode Island Blood Center. Two donor centers open earlier for platelet donors The Rhode Island Blood Center is making it easier for platelet donors, opening earlier this summer at two donor centers on Sundays. The Warwick Donor Center, which previously opened at 8:30 a.m. on Sundays, will now open an hour and a half earlier for platelet donors. The Woonsocket Donor Center, which has also received an additional platelet machine, is opening an hour and a half earlier on Sundays, at 6:30 a.m. The earlier hours are reserved specifically for platelet donations, a longer process than whole blood donation. It is our hope that this will allow platelet donors to come in earlier throughout the summer and stay committed to platelet donations, while still being able to enjoy the nice weather, said Jeanne Egan, manager of operations for the Rhode Island Blood Center. Platelet donors can make appointments by calling or visiting ribc.org.
8 community NON PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAID PERMIT #1000 PROVIDENCE, RI lifeline a publication of the Rhode Island Blood Center 405 Promenade Street Providence, RI ribc.org Save a life. Donate blood. site address donation hours Providence 405 Promenade St., Providence, RI Monday - Thursday 8am to 8pm Friday 7:30am to 5:30pm Saturday 7:30am to 2:30pm Middletown Narragansett 688 Aquidneck Ave, Middletown, RI Tuesday and Thursday 12:30pm to 7:30pm Wednesday 10am to 5pm Saturday 8am to Noon 14 Woodruff Ave., Narragansett, RI Monday & Wednesday 11:30am to 6:30pm Friday 11am to 5pm Saturday 8am to Noon Warwick 400 Bald Hill Rd. Warwick Mall Tuesday & Thursday Noon to 7pm Saturday & Sunday 8am to 2pm Woonsocket Pavilion Plaza, 2168 Diamond Hill Rd Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 10am to 7pm Saturday & Sunday 8:30am to 1pm
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