FROM LEFT: Mercy Figueroa, San Diego Bloodmobile blood collection specialsit and Don Messerschmitt, donor, Monday at Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District monthly blood drive. WILLIAM ROLLER PHOTO

Blood donors feel sense of duty to community

Posted on June 20, 2017
By William Roller

BRAWLEY — Residents in Imperial Valley have always shouldered responsibility toward their neighbors and again showed resolve by donating blood Monday.

Despite one of the hottest days of the year more than 10 people showed up the first hour of the monthly bloodmobile visit from the San Diego Blood Bank. The bloodmobile always comes on a Monday and remains today also from noon to 6 p.m. They park just outside the Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District Women’s Center, 207 W. Legion Road. They normally get 30 to 40 people a day for blood donations, noted Frank Salazar, PMHD director of marketing and public affairs.

“You’d think it would be slow in summer but we’ve been getting consistent community support, said Salazar. “We thank the San Diego Blood Bank for their consistency every month … and our Women’s Auxiliary Group. They’re the ones who greet donors with a smile and help the newcomers with the forms.”

Arbutus Lewis and Lea Anne O’Malley, volunteers with PMHD Auxiliary, graciously welcomed donors arriving at the Women’s Center.

“We volunteer in the gift shop also so every four weeks we’re glad to volunteer here as well,” remarked Lewis.

Added her colleague O’Malley, “We enjoy coming down here and helping the donors and the hospital as well.”

Donor Don Messerschmitt is well acquainted with the need of blood. As a clinical scientist working 39 years at PMHD’s clinical lab he has seen times when they had to rely upon blood from the Midwest.

“Sometimes it stings a little but it was very gentle today,” said Messerschmitt as he was attended. “They must have got a sharper needle today.”

Mercy Figueroa, blood collection specialist helped Messerschmitt through the process. “They need to be well hydrated and eat a good meal before donating,” she said. “And then they need to eat afterwards and avoid any strenuous exercise for 24 hours afterwards.”

Other do’s and don’ts SDBB recommends, donors need to be at least 16 years old and those under 18 require parental consent. Donors should weigh at least 114 pounds. And they should bring a valid form of a picture identification such as driver’s license, passport, state ID or school endorsed ID.

Also the bloodmobile advises anybody with a cold or flu not to donate because it can be passed on to a patient, noted Lisa Kauffman, RN with SDBB. “We only have a few day’s supply now but we prefer to have at least seven days’ supply on hand,” said Kauffman. “We’re also short on O-Negative that’s the universal donor. We also like to have O-Positive, because it can go to 88 percent of the population.”

She went on, that people can donate every eight weeks but Christmas season is when it is slow. She reminds everybody most of SDBB supplies are used in San Diego and Imperial Counties but it all remains in California.

Karon Granish, a retiree from the California Department of Parole Operations stressed how donors can save lives. On Monday she was donating just blood cells. “But I know of a child who when born if not completely transfused would have died,” she said. “So we all need to think about donating.”


Staff Writer William Roller can be reached at or 760-337-3452.

MyHealth @ PMHD