Surpassing a milestone on the blood donation front

Nov. 16—LA GRANDE — History has been made on the La Grande blood donation front.

A total of 243 units of blood were collected during a two-day American Red Cross blood drive on Tuesday, Nov. 8, and Wednesday, Nov. 9, boosting the number of units donated during five two-day drives in 2022 to 1,176 — the first time in at least 20 years that La Grande has topped the 1,000 unit mark for blood donations. A unit of blood is about one pint.

La Grande's 2022 total at the start of the Nov. 8-9 blood drive, its last of the year, was 926 units. Linda and Sheldon Strand, the coordinators of the La Grande blood drives, said their goal was to surpass the 1,000 unit mark.

"We made the goal with cream on top," Linda Strand said.

La Grande finished its blood draw year with 204 more units than the 965 it collected in 2021, which at the time was the most it had drawn in at least 20 years.

A total 225 people came to participate in the Nov. 9-10 blood draw, including several first-time donors. The blood draw was again conducted at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Gekeler Lane.

Sheldon Strand said La Grande's blood drives are boosted by an emphasis it places on efficiency. This means that blood donors with time constraints know they can come in and make a blood donation in a reasonable time period.

Strand said blood donors are encouraged to complete an information form ahead of time via an app. He said that people who have done this can give blood after having their temperature, blood pressure and blood iron level checked by American Red Cross staff.

Dick Mason is a reporter with The Observer. Contact him at 541-624-6016 or dmason@lagrandeobserver.com.