Not just your grandmother's disease. Blood Center opens new laboratory

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1 the community lifeline September 2013 Volume 12, No 3 Not just your grandmother's disease There was a time Mandy Zito says, when she and her husband were carefree, setting off on a six month cross-country road trip, or backpacking for a month through Europe. Now, both Mandy and her husband, Howard, both cancer survivors, see life differently. Cancer, she says gave me new direction, new focus. You can plan all you want. Sometimes life has a different place for you. Just enjoy today, because that s what you have. Mandy is intent on giving back to the young survivors of breast cancer, of which she is one, having battled the disease when she was just 33. It was a diagnosis that came eight weeks after her husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer. For Howard it was surgery, but since the disease was caught early he needed no further treatment. For Mandy it was nine months of treatment, a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, and an experimental drug. She is among those breast cancer survivors that exemplifies the partnership this October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, between the Rhode Island Blood Center and Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation. Throughout Mandy Zito the month, the Rhode Island Blood Center will introduce blood donors at its six fixed locations to breast cancer survivors. The Foundation will emphasize the importance of blood donation and having adequate blood supplies available. Mandy is five years cancer free, although she still continued on page 6 Blood Center opens new laboratory The Rhode Island Blood Center opened its new 20,000 square foot state of the art laboratory on Sept. 19, allowing the Blood Center to increase testing capacity while positioning itself to implement any new blood tests that may be developed or required. The laboratory is connected to the Blood Center s main facility at 405 Promenade St., Providence. The new laboratory, which will test all blood donations for the Rhode Island Blood Center and many hospitals in Massachusetts, is the only one of its kind in New England. Implementation will be phased in over several months, as equipment and personnel is moved from the laboratory in the adjacent building. continued on page 6 The Community Lifeline is a publication of the Rhode Island Blood Center inside Volunteers 2 Cord Blood 3 Be The Match 4 Recognition 5 Tomorrow Fund 7

2 volunteer spotlight page 2 September 2013 Honoring Blood Center volunteers Mark Tibbits is not unlike a lot of volunteers at the Rhode Island Blood Center a blood donor who recognized the importance of his donations and felt a need to give back to the community even more, as a volunteer. A four-gallon blood donor and a volunteer driver, who transports blood products from mobile blood drives to the Rhode Island Blood Center s laboratory in Providence, Mark was recently honored as the Blood Center s Volunteer of the Year at the Blood Center s annual volunteer event. An electrical technician at Electric Boat in Groton, Tibbits, who lives in Warwick, can put in a 70-hour week for Electric Boat and still volunteer at the Blood Center several days each week. Receiving the Volunteer of the Year honor was quite meaningful for Mark. It was quite a shock, he says. It means quite a bit to me that I ve been recognized. In some ways, it s really an award he needs to share with his wife, Anna Marie, who often accompanies on his volunteer runs. In fact, Anna Marie, who had not been a blood donor before Mark began volunteering in the late fall of 2011, has now donated four times since. Also honored as the Blood Center s Volunteer Driver of the Year, Mark calls his volunteer experience at the Blood Center as great. When asked why he does it, he simply says I do this because I want to do this. He s an example of many of the Blood Center s volunteers, who work full days and continue to contribute to the community through their volunteerism and, in Mark s case, frequent blood donations. Besides Mark, several other volunteers were honored at the Crowne Plaza dinner for their contribu- tions, including hours logged. Delfina Tridenti of Cranston, who has volunteered at the Blood Center for nearly 12 years was honored as Greeter and Refreshment Volunteer of the Year, and David Villiard of Cumberland, a volunteer for a little over a year, was Mark Tibbits (left), Volunteer of the Year, with Chris Macri, Volunteer Manager Newsletter Committee Frank Prosnitz, Editor Communications Manager Renelda Maurice-Simmons, Communications Assistant continued on page 5 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 Kenneth Allen, Chief Financial Officer Volunteer opportunities 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 in Providence and the East Bay 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 Manager

3 page 3 September 2013 RI Blood Center ends Cord Blood Program The Rhode Island Blood Center, which initiated a pilot program four years ago to determine the efficacy of developing a full cord blood program in Rhode Island, will be ended the program in mid-september. Recently, new studies have been released that encourage delayed clamping of the umbilical cord, making it more difficult to collect a viable sample that can be stored, frozen and used for a future transplant. The result will be fewer collections for a program that was already being challenged by more stringent criteria. We are saddened that we can no longer support the cord blood program, but heartened by the support of so many families these past four years that have participated, says Carolyn Young, MD, the Rhode Island Blood Center s Chief Medical Officer. In our four years, we have collected more than 5,000 cords, 11 of which have been used in life saving transplants. The Rhode Island Blood Center also wishes to acknowledge the unwavering support of Representative Eileen Naughton, (D-Warwick) whose efforts and encouragement enabled the pilot program to become a reality. When the Rhode Island Blood Center opened its program on Mother s Day 2009, it became the first public cord blood program in New England. The initial aim was to not only collect the cords, but to determine the feasibility of developing a full scale cord blood program that included all testing, storage and distribution, for what would have been a multi-million dollar undertaking. It became clear that we would not be able to achieve our goal, Dr. Young says, and that there are other viable alternatives for those that wish to bank their baby s cord blood. Dr. Young directed families to Lifebank, USA, a national organization that offers both private storage and public donation, and is able to facilitate collections at Women & Infants Hospital (where RIBC collections occurred) and other area hospitals. Families are urged to contact Lifebank early in the pregnancy at or by visiting the LifebankUSA website at com. notebook The next generation Richard Staples (right), and his son, Evan (left) with phlebotomist Eric Kimatian. Richard Staples has been donating blood for more than 30 years, and upwards of 215 donations. He s a platelet donor, and believes passionately in the importance of making sure that our blood supplies remain adequate and safe. A healthcare worker for many years, he would instill in others the importance of donating, and the need for platelets. Like many donors, Richard has passed along his passion to the next generation, and sees in his son Evan, a project engineer, the likelihood of that he will continue to donate platelets for many years. Richard first donated blood in 1982, and Evan made his first donation in Did you know Around 107 million blood donations are collected globally every year. About 50 percent of these are donated in low- and middle-income countries, where nearly 85 percent of the world s population lives. The average blood donation rate is more than nine times greater in highincome countries than in low-income countries.-world Health Organization

4 page 4 September 2013 Marrow program's 500th donor Ask Michael McCarthy how difficult it was to donate marrow and save a 12-year-old boy s life and he ll tell you, not at all. Ask Michael McCarthy if donating changed his life, and he ll tell you it s made him a better person. I m thankful for everything I have, a great wife, two kids. This kid, 12, if I didn t do it, he says, his voicing trailing off. Michael is a recent marrow donor, by the numbers he was actually the Rhode Island Blood Center s Marrow Program s 500th donor. He s a father, a husband, and a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in Wellesley Hills, MA. Dave Irving, a co-worker whose father had passed away,was promoting a marrow registration drive at Stonehill College last December in memory of his father. Dave promoted the drive at work, and Michael, 40, who was not on the marrow registry or a blood donor ( fear of needles ), registered, never thinking that within a few months he would be a match. I got a call and they were pretty confident that I was a match for a 12-year-old boy, he says. It was a crazy month tests, hoping you re the guy. I was a 10 for 10 match. You literally have somebody s life in your body. For Michael, the donation went smoothly. Two days From left to right: Jackie Aguire, RIBC Therapeutics staff; donor Michael McCarthy; David Irving; donor Steve Rapoza; and Jennifer Landry, RIBC Therapeutics staff. after the donation I felt fine. For discomfort to save somebody s life? It s also had a tremendous impact on his life. I look at things a little differently. It s helping me become a better person. I ve done a lot of soul searching. Family has always been central to him his wife, Michelle; son, Sean, 5; and daughter, Stella 2. You think about your kids, he says. I m going to spend more time with my kids. Family, they re everything. "My main job is to spend time and make sure my kids know they re loved. Thousands of people suffer from diseases treatable with marrow or blood stem cell transplants. The National Marrow Donor Program finds donors for patients who don t have a match in their family. You can join the Registry if you are years old, in good health, and willing to give a swab of cheek cells. Testing costs are covered by health insurance or Michael s Fund of Fall River, MA, if you are between the ages of 18 and 44. If you are between 18 and 44 you can register at any Rhode Island Blood Center office or blood drive by asking the staff for an application. You can also register online, regardless of age, at For more information on our National Marrow Donor Program or to sponsor a marrow registration drive, call or Additional information is also available on

5 page 6 September 2013 Lab (from page 1) By building the new laboratory, the Rhode Island Blood Center continues its leadership in the emerging knowledge-based industries of Rhode Island and Southern New England. The new facility allows us to continue to serve the growing need for blood products testing services throughout the Northeast, says Lawrence Smith, the Rhode Island Blood Center s Chief Executive Officer. The building is on land that had previously held what was essentially an abandoned floral exchange. Besides the 20,000 square foot new structure, a smaller 2,600 square foot building has been restored for future use. When the Blood Center announced last year that it was intending on building the structure, Michael Fine, M.D. and director of the Rhode Island Department of Health called the new testing laboratory an investment in the good health of all Rhode Islanders. Smith said the Rhode Island Blood Center currently employs nearly 400 individuals, and anticipates that in time the new facility will add jobs. The $8 million project, Smith said, was self-funded, not reliant upon taxpayer dollars.vision 3 was the architect, and E.W. Burman, Inc., the construction company. The Rhode Island Blood Center was founded by the hospitals in Rhode Island in 1979 to develop a more efficient system of collecting, testing and distributing blood products. Over the last 33 years it has established itself among the leading blood collection agencies nationally, and has grown to a full-service regional blood center, providing testing, collections, marrow and in-hospital patient programs. Zito (from page 1) carries a lingering nervousness that the cancer will come back. Following her treatment she returned to school, at the University of Rhode Island, where she earned a degree in Human Development and Family Services. In her senior year she interned at the Gemma Foundation, and upon graduation became the Foundation s Young Survivor Coordinator. Breast cancer is not just your grandmother s disease, she says. The faces of breast cancer are changing, getting younger. Those faces are on the 2013 Gemma Foundation calendar, featuring young breast cancer survivors. These are young mothers with their children, business people consumed by the corporate world, and all with a sense of hope and energy. These are the survivors. For some, part of that survival meant having blood products available at critical times in their treatment. It was like a miracle, Mandy says of her first blood transfusion. During chemotherapy her blood levels had dropped, requiring the transfusion. After receiving the transfusion, she says, I felt like I could run a marathon. Two months later she needed a second transfusion. She is a strong advocate of blood donation: I could not speak more highly of donating. Put it on your calendar. It s more important than any dollar amount. And she is an even stronger advocate of breast cancer screening. Her mother was a breast cancer survivor leading to Mandy s first mammogram at 28 and MRI at 30. She is screened every six months. In January 2009 they found the tumor. It was not apparent during a routine mammogram, but was found soon after during an MRI exam. In Rhode Island one in six women are diagnosed with breast cancer, Mandy says. We re doing a lot more screening, she says. Because women are getting screened, they re getting better. "Know your body. Listen to your body. Do your self exams. There s a lot higher survival rate when the disease is caught early. Host a Blood Drive! Do you know a company or organization that might host a blood drive? Call Frank Prosnitz Communications Manager

6 the community lifeline NON PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAID PERMIT #1000 Providence, RI a publication of the Rhode Island Blood Center 405 Promenade Street Providence, RI twitter.com/ribloodcenter ribc.org facebook.com/ribloodcenter Save a life. Donate blood. site address donation hours Providence Middletown Narragansett Warwick 405 Promenade St., RI Aquidneck Ave., RI Woodruff Ave., RI Greenwich Ave., RI Monday - Thursday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday 12:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday 8 a.m. to Noon Monday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday 8 a.m. to Noon Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday & Sunday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Westerly 143 Franklin St., RI Monday & Wednesday 12:30pm - 6:30pm Friday 9:00am - 2:00pm Sunday 8:00am - 1:00pm Woonsocket 2168 Diamond Hill Rd., Pavilion Plaza, RI Tuesday & Thursday Noon to 7 p.m. Saturday & Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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