Friday the 13th was a lucky day for United Blood Services and a celebration of saving lives.
The efforts of blood drive coordinators throughout the state were applauded that day at Valentines for Life, United Blood Services premier annual awards luncheon.
Last year, more than 1,000 organizations hosted blood drives across Arizona, helping to provide 162,307 blood donations. Once separated into components, those donations saved more than 324,000 Arizona lives.
Honored guests at the Valentines for Life event met and heard an inspiring story from Preston Smith, who is living proof that every blood donor counts.
At just 14 months old, one blood donor helped save his life when he required surgery to repair a constriction in his heart.
Preston grew up like any healthy boy, but during his senior year in high school, his condition deteriorated and he was placed at the top of the transplant list.
Fortunately, within hours, Preston’s life was saved again with a donor heart and three more blood donors.
“I would not be alive today without the generosity of tissue and blood donors,” Preston said. “They gave me the gift of life and I don’t plan to waste a minute of it!”
Of the 1,080 organizations that hosted blood drives across the state last year, 187 groups achieved Valentines for Life awards for reaching significant milestones in recruiting blood donors.
Of those, 28 organizations earned the Hero Award, United Blood Services most prestigious achievement and an honor that is reached by less than three percent of all blood drive coordinators across Arizona.
This group of coordinators provided the largest impact on the blood supply by going above and beyond with outstanding blood drive planning, as well as recruiting donors on difficult days or during times of the year when the need was most critical.
With the support of their senior management and blood drive committees, the 28 Hero Award winners alone hosted 228 blood drives, providing Arizona patients with an amazing 11,261 lifesaving blood donations.
* 2014 Bill Shover Leadership Award: Chosen by the UBS Community Leadership Council: The individual that inspired, motivated and served as an advocate for United Blood Services as a community leader.
2014 Recipient: Lorrie Glaeser, C.E.O. & President, Streets of New York.
* 2014 Media of the Year Award: Chosen by United Blood Services: The media outlet that has done the most to increase community awareness on the Arizona blood program.
2014 Recipient: AZ-TV7/Cable13
Hero Award: Providing the largest impact on the blood supply with outstanding blood drive coordination.
East Valley honorees:
Chandler: Bank of America Chandler Blvd. Campus – Barbara Hover & Rachael Witkin
Fountain Hills: Fountain Hills Noon Kiwanis – Paul Appeldorn & Dr. Liz Smith
Scottsdale: General Dynamics-Hayden – Gail Baldacchino
Scottsdale: Scottsdale Insurance – Gail Ryan
Tempe: SRP ISB – Janelle Thrasher & Linda Tomasi
Bank of America Phoenix Campus – Samantha Germain
Honeywell 301 Bldg. – Nery Alonso
Mayo Clinic – Tish Mailloux & Kairin Whiteside
Motorcycle Mechanics Institute – Carol Green
RSI – Ericka Baca
St. Jerome Catholic Church – Bill Haman
Avondale: Universal Technical Institute – Jim Nichol & Hilary Brode
Glendale: Banner Thunderbird Medical Center – Jason Mielke
Glendale: Luke Air Force Base – Capt. Sharlott Uriarte & TSgt. Alisa Frisch
Glendale: Sands Chevrolet Glendale – Rhonda Shadley
Peoria & Surprise: New Life Community Churches – Verlene Gray & Kim Stanfield
Sun City West: Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center – Cindy Griffin
Sun City West: Sun City West Fire District – Holli Bishop
Surprise: Kohl’s-South Surprise – Sherri Kristensen
Surprise: St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Community – Connie Gaudio & Simone Barthell
Surprise: Sunset Hills Elementary – Brandi Tshivhase
Cottonwood: Knights of Columbus-Immaculate Conception Catholic Church – Bill Gibeaut & Todd Willis
Flagstaff: Flagstaff Mall and The Marketplace – Bonnie Bouschet & Laura Crossman
Flagstaff: Flagstaff Medical Center – Kim Angelo, Monique McCartney & Mary Hostetler
Flagstaff: Fratelli Pizza – Brent Schepper
Flagstaff: RE/MAX Peak Properties – Eric Davis
Prescott: Yavapai Regional Medical Center – Beth Bird
Yuma: Yuma Regional Medical Center – Robin Hardee
United Blood Services has been Arizona’s nonprofit community blood provider since 1943 and serves patients in nearly 60 Arizona hospitals.
The UBS network is one of the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit blood service organizations, and is a founding member of America’s Blood Centers and the American Association of Blood Banks.
For more information on how to Find the Hero in You, please call 1-877-UBS-HERO (1-877-827-4376) toll-free or visit www.UnitedBloodServicesAZ.org.
The Scottsdale Independent is available for free every Wednesday.