“BloodworksNW celebrates 10 years with Angel Flight West”
Guest Post from BloodworksNW Blog The Blood Line
Most blood donors know that a pint of blood can save three lives because it can be separated into three components: red cells, plasma, and platelets. What you may not know is that this processing needs to done within five hours of drawing it from your arm. Otherwise, only the red cells are viable (up to 24 hours).
Between ferries, distance, and our region’s notoriously bad traffic, this critical time frame presents a challenge. BloodworksNW’s service area spans from Bellingham to Eugene and remote areas in between, but all blood is processed in our Renton laboratories.
We wouldn’t be able to save nearly as many lives without the special volunteers at Angel Flight West.
Angel Flight West is non-profit organization that primarily arranges free, non-emergency air travel for patients with serious medical conditions.
However, in May 2005, their all-volunteer crew of pilots began helping BloodworksNW transport thousands of units of blood each year from drives to our testing facilities, allowing us to process more units of platelets and plasma from whole blood and save more lives.
“The pilots are blood donors, in a way, because they create exponential value to the patients in the Northwest,” says Kyle McDaniel, Regional Operations Supervisor on our Transportation team, who has worked closely with Angel Flight West pilots for the past five years.
Angel Flight West typically only flies people, so it came as a surprise when they approached us about delivering blood.
This was perfect timing; the flights we previously relied on from private companies and commercial airlines for far-away pick-ups for all donated blood were costing our organization tens of thousands of dollars a year.