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Published on September 11, 2015

Blood drive on wheels coming to a town near you

Blood drive on wheels coming to a town near you

Always wanted to donate blood but never made it to the hospital?

No problem. The blood mobile is heading your way.

Cape Cod Healthcare’s brand new blood mobile is on the move, starting with Saturday’s Seaside LeMans race at Mashpee Commons.367

The fully equipped, 40-foot motor coach is a self-contained, mobile blood drive with four beds, screening rooms, a CD player and flat-screen monitor, Wi-Fi, refrigeration, air conditioning, heating and a retractable awning to protect donors from the sun or inclement weather.

“This a generational leap for the Cape Cod Blood Center, said supervisor Constance Patten.   “Every pint of blood we collect on the bloodmobile remains right here on Cape Cod to serve donors’ family, friends and neighbors.”

The blood mobile will be on the road four to five days a week, with a goal of collecting a minimum of 20 units a day, she said. That is about a third more blood than has historically been collected through individual blood drives.

The blood mobile is reserved months in advance by community partners who want to hold blood drives at their businesses, churches, community centers and other organizations, but do not have the indoor space available for the equipment.

“To meet the demand for blood and become self-sufficient, we knew we would have to get out into the community more. Most people are not going to come to the hospital to donate blood,” said Pat Cabana, Marketing Manager for Cape Cod Healthcare’s Laboratory Services, which includes the Blood Center.  “And there are significant costs and time associated with locating blood drive sites and then moving all our beds and equipment on a daily basis.”

Today, more than half the 8,000 pints of blood needed annually at Cape Cod and Falmouth hospitals must be purchased off Cape for hundreds of dollars per unit. “With the new blood mobile, as well as a full-time recruiter, our goal is to be self-sufficient in a few years,” she said.

The arrival of the $326,000 bloodmobile comes after a two-year fund-raising effort led by the Rotary Clubs of Cape Cod.

The clubs organized a major fund-raising effort, which culminated with a fall 2014 Masquerade Ball and auction that raised $100,000 for the bloodmobile. Another $60,000 was donated by individuals and organizations across Cape Cod.

Other Masquerade Ball sponsors included the Cape Cod Five Foundation, Wendy’s of Cape Cod and Rick Roy Construction – whose logos are prominently displayed on the back and side of the bloodmobile. Many other companies and individuals across Cape Cod also contributed.

“As more businesses and Cape Codders realize that every pint of blood we collect stays right here to serve the community, donations are growing by the month,” said Patten. “People want to know that when they give, it’s saving lives at both our hospitals.”

Blood is needed around the clock for the emergency room, ICU, orthopedics, cardiology, cancer treatment and general surgery, Cabana said.  Cape Cod Healthcare conducts more than 200 open heart surgeries a year.

“We bank about 240 units of red cells in Hyannis and another 100 in Falmouth,” Patten said. “At any one time, we need at least one week’s worth of blood on hand. Each unit collected or purchased will last about 42 days, so it is a never-ending challenge to maintain sufficient supply.”

Businesses and organizations can register online to host a blood drive, call 508-86BLOOD or email blood recruiter Jonathan DeCoste at jdecoste@capecodhealth.org.

To locate a blood drive in your area, check out our online calendar.