Memorial Blood Centers luncheon

The Grand Rapids area was well represented at the annual Memorial Blood Centers annual award luncheon on Wednesday, May 22 at Clyde Iron Works in Duluth. Pictured are (from left) Cindy Stage, ElderCircle; Lisa Randall, ElderCircle; featured speaker Katie Thunselle; Adam Clark, Emcee and KBJR Chief Meterologist; Katheryn Hamm, Memorial Blood Centers; and Brian Carlson Itasca County Agricultural Association Vice President and Itasca County Fair Blood Drive Coordinator.

Memorial Blood Centers (MBC) recognized top supporters and blood donation advocates at a Northland Appreciation Luncheon held in Duluth on Wednesday, May 22. This event helps showcase the inspirational and vital work of blood drive sponsors—businesses, schools, health care facilities, and civic organizations in the Northland area who support Memorial Blood Centers’ mission of saving lives through blood donation.

The event featured the special reunion between Grand Rapids resident and blood recipient guest speaker Katie Thunselle with one of her blood donors. As guest speaker, Thunselle shared her story as a blood recipient and the life saving impact that blood donation had on her and her family.

Also featured at the luncheon was recognition to the Northland’s Top 10 Blood Drive Sponsors, who collected a total of 2,752 units of blood in 2018. In addition, Grand Rapids area blood drive sponsors Bigfork Valley Hospital, ElderCircle, and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church were recognized in the “100 Club” for having collected 100 units or more in 2018. The 100 Club sponsors collected more than 3,000 units of blood, and nearly 100% of the blood used by patients in Northland hospitals is donated by Northland blood donors with Memorial Blood Centers. Also in attendance representing the Itasca County area was Brian Carlson, Itasca County Agricultural Association Vice President and Itasca County Fair Blood Drive Coordinator.

“Many hands make light work”, were some of the words used in introducing ElderCircle as the Volunteer Partner of the Year award recipient for their work with Memorial Blood Centers in helping make blood drives in the Grand Rapids area successful and in engaging volunteers in scheduling donor appointments. The award introduction also stated, “ElderCircle not only runs quarterly blood drives, but is always willing to send out communication to their contact lists when blood drives in the area are in need of donors. There is no “bad time” for ElderCircle to host a blood drive, often times holding drives on holiday weeks or during a time of year that is hard to recruit donors, all the while making it look easy to have a practically full schedule, if not completely full. The success ElderCircle creates is accomplished with the help of many. A panel of volunteers call for every blood drive, emails are sent out to the community, and on the day of the drive, many walk-ins are recruited. It is by the hands of many that ElderCircle of Grand Rapids is this year’s Volunteer Partner of the Year!”

Accepting the award on ElderCircle’s behalf was Lisa Randall, Director of Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and Cindy Stage, Volunteer Coordinator.

“This award truly recognizes the work of many—we have an outstanding group of volunteers who make hundreds of calls to schedule blood donors, as well as the many blood donors themselves who literally give an irreplaceable piece of themselves,” stated Randall.

The need for blood is constant, but the supply is not. Memorial Blood Centers is the sole supplier of blood to more than 30 hospital partners and more than a dozen air ambulances throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. To learn more about hosting a blood drive at your workplace, church, business, school, or community organization, contact Memorial Blood Centers at 1-888-GIVE-BLD (888-448-3253) or hostablooddrive@mbc.org.

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