Monday, June 23, 2014

Pheresis Donations Accepted in Sonora

Sonora, CA April 5, 2012 — Delta Blood Bank of Sonora has been a fixture in the community, collecting whole blood donations for Sonora Regional Hospital and the patients they serve in the community since 1954. This month they have begun accepting pheresis donations, (along with Stockton and Modesto) which differ from whole blood in several very important ways.

Platelets are the cells that help stop bleeding. Blood is a mixture of red cells, white cells, plasma, platelets and more. Apheresis is the process of collecting platelets only through a blood cell separator which automatically removes platelets from the blood you are donating and returns the rest of the blood to you. It is a very safe and simple process – very much like a whole blood donation.

Healthy people have more platelets than they need and can donate them without risk to themselves. The platelets that are donated are regenerated within a few days. Donating platelets helps people undergoing treatment for serious health problems like leukemia, cancer and aplastic anemia. People undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments are unable to produce enough platelets and a platelet transfusion can mean the difference between life and death.

Whole blood has a shelf life of 42 days, while pheresis can be stored only 5 days making a stable inventory a challenge. In order to meet the ever growing need for platelets, Delta Blood Bank of Sonora will have apheresis appointments available Wednesdays through Saturdays between 9:45 AM and 2:00 PM. For more information on becoming a pheresis donor, please call (888) 94-BLOOD.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Good Samaritan Hero!

Steven Derby (left) and his father John
Steven Derby was nominated for the Red Cross Good Samaritan Adult Hero Award for Stanislaus County 2014 by Grace Petrini of Delta Blood Bank. The program for the event on June 11, 2014 reads:

"Steven Derby is truly a giving man. In 2000, he was drawn to personally five blood when his father needed major surgery and was excited to find he was a perfect match. However, because he has Cerebral Palsy, there were a few hurdles to clear and convincing the blood bank was one of them. Steven was not to be deterred and went to Delta Blood Bank CEO, Dr. Benjamin Spindler, as well as his own personal physician for approval. Winning them both over, Steven donated that first time and never looked back. He saw no reason why he shouldn't continue donating blood and thought he'd make a pretty good volunteer too. Steven knew that blood donors are saving lives and he wanted to be part of encouraging and thank others for doing so.

That was 14 years ago. Today, Steven is just two units shy of being a 10 gallon blood donor and he volunteers faithfully each month at the Ceres donation center. From his first day as a volunteer, Steven Derby understood what it took to welcome other donors. He reflects a graciousness that welcomes and encourages them to come back. He demonstrates an uncanny ability to be helpful and is dedicated to his assigned work serving cookies and juice to fellow donors. His foremost priority is offering a smile and many kind words. Steven loves volunteering for Delta Blood Bank and is exited that it is now part of the American Red Cross, because that makes him a Red Cross volunteer too! But most of all he loves telling others about the importance of becoming a blood donor. He says, "If  can give blood and save a life, so can you"!

Thank you, Steven, for sharing your spirit of giving and for the lives you are saving. We can't wait to help you celebrate that 10th gallon! American Red Cross is so proud to recognize you as our 2014 Good Samaritan Adult Hero."

Steven gave an acceptance speech at the event stating, "You don't need to be a big strong man to save a life."  So true!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

48 Random Acts of Kindness

When Anna Serrato's husband asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she said "I have everything I need, and what I don't have would just be a 'want'. I can live without the 'wants'."  She decided she would give instead of receive. Following her daughters' example last year, Anna vowed to complete 48 random acts of kindness for her 48th birthday, and she did! Anna made a list and organized her day so that she could fit in all 48! Her husband Louie chauffeured so she could jump out of the car and right back in.

"The sad thing was, I had to explain myself in this day and age. I would hand out a gift card and no one would reach for it," said Seratto. "People were suspicious of kindness." But her winning smile prevailed as she gave baked goods to her children's teachers, paid for the coffee of the person behind her, brought food to the homeless, taped money to vending machines, left positive sticky notes on cars, brought bottled water to the gym, delivered coloring books and crayons to the maternity ward, left the mail carrier a gift, and brought treats to the animals shelter. 

When Anna handed $5 to the Jamba Juice cashier to be credited towards the next customer's purchase, that customer was very surprised, as was her 12 year old son who exclaimed, "This is great!" That customer decided then and there that she would deliver acts of kindness on her next birthday...her 49th! Anna told her, "It's possible."

Having given blood previously, Anna drove by the Delta Blood Bank in Tracy and thought, "It's been awhile! I'll add that good deed to the list." Donating blood was her 48th gift on her 48th birthday, and with it she saved up to 3 lives!

When all was said and done, Anna and her husband celebrated with some chips and salsa. "It was a long exhausting day, but well worth it," she said. Giving back was her gift of self to the community, and we are proud to have Anna as part of the Delta Blood Bank community of donors!

A sign Anna saw at one of the schools she visited on her birthday.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

How to Thank a Blood Donor

Bob Webb has been donating blood with Delta Blood Bank since 1957. He says Ann Jantzen, one of the first nurses to work at Delta "talked him into it."  Bob is a 10 gallon donor and proudly displays his license plate frame on his car, attesting to his dedication.

One day he came out of a store to find a note under his windshield. It read, "Thank you! 8 pints saved my life! Everyday since 1999 counts!"  Bob saved the note and brought it in to Delta Blood Bank because he was so touched by the gesture. I'm sure there are many blood recipients who would like to thank the blood donor(s) who saved their lives, as well as donors who would love to know whose lives they saved! Unfortunately, due to FDA and HIPA regulations, this specific correlation must remain anonymous. However, one recipient found a way to say "Thank You" and Bob Webb was thrilled.

The best way to thank a blood donor for saving your life is to tell your story. If you are willing, please share your testimony with us!

Friday, January 11, 2013


Submitted by Laura Coyt Zavala
UOP Student

Kevin may seem like a typical ten-year-old. He loves fast food, playing with his friends, and has every videogame console you can imagine.  However, Kevin is not your typical ten-year-old. When Kevin was five years old, he began having horrible headaches that would last for days and would even affect his vision. After arduous testing, doctors found several tumors in his brain. His family and friends were devastated and confused. They did not understand why this had happened, but they did not give up.

Days before his sixth birthday, Kevin underwent major brain surgery to remove these tumors. After the biopsy, Kevin was diagnosed with cancer and the doctors found even more metastatic tumors, also known as metastases, or “mets”, within Kevin. These were in his brain and in the tip of his spine. Kevin underwent three other major surgeries in order to remove all the tumors caused by the aggressive cancer. Thereafter, Kevin began six cycles of chemotherapy. 
Kevin had just turned seven when he finished chemotherapy. The doctors advised his mom, Maria, that from that point on, Kevin was to receive check-ups every three months. During one of these check-ups, less than one year later, the doctors found several other “mets” the size of raisins inside Kevin’s brain. Again, Kevin underwent major brain surgery in order to remove these tumors. This treatment severely affected Kevin physically and emotionally. He was angry, confused, and depressed. His family and friends would pray endlessly for Kevin to stay strong and never give up.

Kevin received six cycles chemotherapy again, but this time, it was accompanied by radiation therapy, which can damage normal cells as well as cancer cells. Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells. In Kevin’s case, the harmful rays were aimed directly into his brain. Although there are different forms of Radiation therapy, Kevin received 30 treatment sessions of the 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy. This form of radiation therapy procedure uses a computer to create a 3-dimensional picture of the tumor. This allows doctors to give the highest possible dose of radiation to the tumor, while sparing the normal tissue as much as possible.
Kevin and his family continued with their life and hoped to leave this nightmare behind them. Unfortunately, the cancer was not ready to let go just yet. Weeks after Kevin had turned eight, the doctors again found several tumors, but this time, in his spine. For a third time, Kevin underwent major surgery and the doctors were successful in removing the “mets” in his spine. Kevin again received three cycles of chemotherapy and finished it just after his ninth birthday.


Every surgery and every cycle of chemotherapy severely damaged Kevin’s blood supply. Kevin received several red blood cell transfusions because his blood levels were severely diminished. Additionally, Kevin received several platelet transfusions in order to strengthen his immune system since the chemotherapy had killed many of his own platelets. Platelets are special and rare. They make up only 2% of blood and have several very important functions. They stop the loss of blood, remove dirt and germs, and repair damage. Because platelets make up so little of the blood, in the past it took separating the blood from 5 to 10 donors in order to collect enough. Apheresis, a process used today in order to collect just one component of the blood, allows for a blood cell separator to collect enough platelets for a transfusion from a single donor. This process is just as safe as donating whole blood.

Kevin has been able to move forward and resume his childhood with his entire family behind him, supporting him and amazed at his incredible strength. At just ten years old, Kevin has survived the worst possible diagnosis anyone could ever imagine, three different times! Although it was sometimes difficult, Kevin remained strong and hopeful. His family and friends are thankful every day and know that the blood and platelet donations of volunteers saved his life and literally, gave him strength. Kevin is just one example of many, and he is my reason to donate blood as often as possible. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Where Does My Blood Go?

Submitted by Laura Coyt Zavala
UOP English. 109

Human blood cannot be manufactured and animal blood cannot replace it. Volunteer blood donors are the only source of blood.

The moment your blood is withdrawn, it is logged into a system that will track it wherever it goes. Professionals at Delta Blood Bank, will transport your blood directly to their lab to begin the testing and evaluation process. The Delta Blood Bank staff will take small samples and send them to a testing service in Chicago, IL to be tested for various diseases and viruses. Meanwhile, Delta Blood Bank lab is ensuring that the units of blood donated are ready for transfusion once the testing service gives them the “green light”.

12 different tests are performed on the blood to ensure it is suitable for transfusion. Some of these tests include the following:
•             Hepatitis B and C
•             HIV (AIDS)
•             West Nile Virus
•             ABO typing (determines the type of blood. i.e. A, B, AB, & O)
•             Rh factor (Rhesus factor. Determines + or – blood type)

Delta Blood Bank also separates the red blood cells from the plasma. That way, the blood recipients receive exactly what they require; whether is plasma, or red blood cells. These are used in various ways. For example: Although our body easily produces the blood necessary to ensure our health, sometimes accident victims or patients having major surgery may lose a dangerous amount of blood. Their bodies are not able to replace blood as fast as necessary, so a red blood cell transfusion is needed. People with various blood diseases, such as hemophilia, leukemia, or sickle cell, need red blood cells in order to replace the “sick” ones. Cancer treatment kills the blood cells, both cancerous cells and healthy ones. Cancer patients need blood-forming cells. When people are severely burned, they need plasma in order to add blood fluids.

After the blood is accounted for, tested, and ready for transfusion, it is labeled and stored. Red blood cells are viable up to 42 days; Plasma up to 12 months frozen; and Platelets up to five (5) days at room temperature. Thereafter, Delta Blood Bank distributes the blood, platelets and plasma, as needed to 15 different hospitals in the San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Calaveras and El Dorado counties. Delta Blood Bank has daily meetings in order to ensure that no blood is wasted and a sufficient supply is always available.

Delta Blood Bank tests every pint of blood carefully and thoroughly. Donors are informed of their blood type by mail, as well as any abnormal findings discovered during testing.  In the case of HIV (AIDS) donors are informed or a possible positive result  via certified mail in order to ensure confidentiality. With every donation you will also get a free health screening which includes height, weight, blood pressure, blood iron levels and sometimes cholesterol. Dr. Spindler, Medical Director of Delta Blood Bank, mentioned that many people often claim that donating blood not only makes them feel good emotionally, but also physically. Although there is no substantial proof of this, keep in mind that every time you donate blood, it creates a physiological response. The various systems inside your body step up and unite in order to make you feel good.