By Julie Ruel, Social Media Manager, Stanford Blood Center
Over the past five years, I’ve come to appreciate this time of year. Yes, wintertime at the office is very exciting around here! It’s the time of year when a committee of us Stanford Blood Center folks pair up with the Sharks Foundation to fasten our seat belts and prepare for the excitement that is THE SHARKS BLOOD DRIVE!
Reality of what’s to come sets in when we open up the appointment slots and I watch the numbers go from zero to 60, or 400 rather, faster than a Zamboni ride around the rink. No doubt the power play of all blood drives for us, the several hundred loyal fans and eager blood donors bring in enough blood at the drive to serve over 900 local patients!
It was a natural fit when we began a partnership with the Sharks Foundation in 2007; we both share a mission of serving our community. Understanding the importance of the Sharks players as role models, the Foundation is specifically dedicated to enhancing the lives of youth, viewing them as the “key to the long-term well-being of our community”.
One young Sharks fanatic in particular has attended the last three Sharks blood drives, cheering us on from the sideline. Unable to give blood himself, Brian Sams, is nevertheless a valuable asset to our organization. “I want to put a face on blood donation so donors can see a real life survivor… so they can see what it takes to keep a kid alive. I’m here to advocate for blood donation and ensure that they’ll come back for future donations.” He was just six months old when doctors discovered he suffered from an immune deficiency, resulting in 13 years of IVIG therapy to strengthen his immune system. I was blown away to find out while speaking with Brian, now 22, what those 13 years entailed. Once every three weeks, he received one to two vials of treatment. But it took 200 donors to make up one vial. Imagine that. If I’m doing my math right, 66,300 donors were involved in keeping Brian alive during the course of his treatment. Wow. But week after week, it was always there for him. And being that he stayed at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, it all came from our very own local supporters.
Below, proud supporter, Brian hangs out with his sister, Sammi (left) and girlfriend, Christina, while they donate.
Working with the Foundation over the years has proven to be a perfect match for us a win-win situation at it’s finest. Speaking of perfect matches, the Sharks have won the last four games played on the day of the blood drive. So let’s add four more “wins” in there!