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4th Annual “What Sickle Cell Means to Me” Art Contest

4th annual sickle cell contest


Following are various links to interesting videos about the need for blood, blood donation, patient/donor stories, etc… in the African-American community:


John “Larry” Valley Golf Tournament, Brunch and Blood Drive

Join us on Saturday, July 26th, for the John “Larry” Valley Memorial Golf Tournament, Brunch and Blood Drive. Proceeds will benefit the Sickle Cell Community Advisory Council of Northern California and the John Susko Memorial Foundation for Junior Golf. Larry was on the board of both organizations and, sadly, passed away last year at age 66.

Larry was an avid golfer, and dedicated to bringing needed blood to Bay Area sickle cell patients. So, of course, you’ll be able to save a life by donating blood at this event. The tournament will be held at San Leandro’s Monarch Bay Golf Club.

Click here to download the brochure.

Blood Types and the Population

Blood Types and the Population

While Type O positive is the most common blood type. Not all ethnic groups have the same mix of these blood types. Hispanics, for instance, have a relatively high number of O’s, while Asians have a relatively high number of B’s. The mix of the different blood types in the U.S. populations are:

Blood Type Caucasians African Americans Hispanics Asians
O+ 37% 47% 53% 39%
O- 8% 4% 4% 1%
A+ 33% 24% 29% 27%
A- 7% 2% 2% 0.5%
B+ 9% 18% 9% 25%
B- 2% 1% 1% 0.4%
AB+ 3% 4% 2% 7%
AB- 1% 0.3% 0.2% 0.1%

(source: AABB Technical Manual)

Rare Traits

Ninety-eight percent of people suffering from sickle cell anemia are African-American. These people – most of whom are children – need to undergo regular blood transfusions. Often, they develop antibodies to the blood they receive, leading to potentially life-threatening transfusion reactions. But if they can receive blood that’s more closely matched to their own, that risk is minimized. And the best matches are found among other African-Americans.

Following is a chart of the rare blood traits and the probabilities of finding those rare traits in African-American and Caucasian blood.

Rare Trait (Negative from Factor) Probability of Finding Rare Trait
In Caucasian Population In African American Population
None Found 1 in 250
None Found 1 in 319
None Found 1 in 6,429
None Found 1 in 16,400
None Found Not established (extremely rare)
2 in 10 5 in 10
3 in 10 9 in 10
1 in 10 8 in 10

Remembering John “Larry” Valley

October 4, 1945 - January 5, 2012

Following is an excerpt of a touching letter, John “Larry” Valley wrote about sickle cell disease and the impact on his life. Larry was a member of the Sickle Cell Community Advisory Council of Northern California and an advocate for community blood-banking. Sadly, he passed away on January 5th, 2012, at age 66.

This letter and Larry’s passing serve as reminders of the fragility of life and that, more than ever, we need to bring awareness to the community about sickle cell disease and the need for blood donations.

The September Sickle Cell Awareness Month event will be held in his memory, it will be called: The John Larry Valley “102 Heroes” Blood Drive.


From 50 forward to now.

My name is John Lawrence Valley, known to most of my friends and relatives as Larry.  I was born on October 4th, 1945.  I have Sickle Cell Disease.  My type is SC Harlem.  The Harlem was identified by the Atlanta Disease Control Center.  My primary doctor that sent my blood to the Disease Control Center for evaluation saw something about my type of SCD that was different than any type he had seen previously.  Simply the Harlem strain (only seen in myself and one other SCD patient in the U.S.) makes my Sickle-Hemoglobin C Disease (SC) type act like Sickle Cell Anemia (SS).

I had a fairly normal childhood.  My family never put any limits on me, so I did most things that normal boys did.  I was never told no or you can’t because of your SCD.  I played little league baseball, I played golf starting at the age of 7, and I still play golf currently.  The two limitations I remember are all of the pain episodes and being small.  After little league baseball I could only play in pick-up games.  I did not start growing until after the age of twenty-one.  I was four foot ten and weighed eighty-five pounds when I graduated from high school.  So my varsity attempts at sports were narrowed to golf because of my size.  I remember having a lot of crises that involved severe pain in my lower back.  I had other crises but those back aches were just really bad.

I worked for over 30 years.  I was limited to desk jobs, physical labor was not an option, small and physical exertion can cause a crisis.  I had physical limitations on my jobs, other than that I did all that was requested of the job description.  I did have some crises at times while in the work force, and I learned to get up and go to work as soon as the crisis pain subsided to a tolerable point.  I worked hard and was responsible for installation of hardware and software all over the country. 

Having a good work ethic a high pain level tolerance allowed me to get the job done.  My motivation has always been that I am just as normal as the next person within the limits of my disease.  I believed that I was normal with the exception of the crisis that kept me off my feet.   

In 1995 I turned 50 years, half a century.  I was told I would not make it to the age of 21.  Funny how that works.  I tried to drink up the entire state of Washington between my 18th and 21st birthdays.  That pretty much ended my faith in Dr.’s and their diagnosis.

Since then I have had two very good physicians over the years that have kept me in the race.  Even at 50 I had my own ideas about how I should live with this disease.  I have not always been correct but I am still here doing it my way within the limitations of Sickle Cell Disease, (SCD).  The most important lesson I learned from my mother was “every time you get knocked down, get up and keep on going.  Don’t grovel when you are down, get up and give it everything you have.”  That is pretty much the way I have lived with this disease.  There was one time when I really wanted to throw in the towel in my early 20’s.  That was the worst crisis I ever had, my saving grace was my cousin who also was afflicted with this disease.  He was very instrumental in keeping me alive during the first 7 days of that crisis.  He passed at the age of 45.  He also is the one who taught me more about this disease than any physician.  He also made me see the importance of living within the limits of the disease rather than push the envelope.

Since the age of 50, there have been some physical changes that I did not know were happening as I aged.  The first noticeable change came to my knees.  I walked a lot, being an avid golfer I was walking a golf course about once a week or more.  I began having severe pain in both knees if I walked too much.  The medical finding was no cartilage in the knees.  My knee bones were rubbing against each other.  Some nerve endings were quite sensitive for a long time.  I still take walks with my dog.  I ride a cart when I play golf these days.

At the age of 60 I was having a lot of pain in my right hip.  This is when I learned that longevity with SCD comes with joint, bone, and organ deterioration.  I don’t have many crises now, but the accumulation of them have deprived parts of my body with oxygen deprivation.  The deprivation kills the parts of the body that are not getting oxygen during a crisis.  So that explains the knees and that hip pain.  I never did anything about the knees, just lucky about being able to still walk.  I can’t do any deep knee bends though.  At the age of sixty I had my right hip replaced.  Now at the age of Sixty-Five I have lost the inches in the length of my right leg.  I have constant pain in that hip that was replaced.  The pain is in two areas, inside the femur and in the groin area.  The mobility recovered has allowed me to continue to play golf.  I have not played as well with the new hip as I did with my own hip.

This year 2011, I had the ball of my left shoulder replaced.  The rehab was tough.  I am back on the golf course, and happy to say that I have played more golf this year than I was able to play in previous years.  I have learned to enjoy being out in the sun with my relatives and friends having fun on the golf course.  I was a competitive player when I was younger with a pretty consistent game.  That is no longer the case.  I miss it but I am happy to be able to complete each round no matter what the score.

I have also had deterioration in my kidneys, so I have to have them checked about every four months.  Medical Physicians and Dentist’s take up a lot of my time keeping me healthy.

Another little item they call acute chest syndrome (ACS) got a hold of me and left its calling card.  It provides some really intense pain in your chest.  The first time it hit me it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest.  The more air you tried to take in, the more intense the pain.  I felt short of breath and could only take in sips of air because of the pain involved.  Seven days of that kind of pain and then a gradual lessoning of pain and eventually the pain settles like a knot somewhere in your upper body.  I had at least three weeks of pain each time I had ACS.  The first 10 days you wish time would speed up but it feels like it is standing still.  I was able to get on my feet and function with the pain as it gradually decreased over the next fourteen days or so.

Living with SCD is a constant learning experience.  You have to make life style adjustments along the way in your life.  Going from competitive golf to golf for fun is one example of that kind of life adjustment.

Another example of life style adjustment is how you spend your time.  I left the work force at the age of Fifty-Seven.  I came out on disability due SCD.  Before that I had an intense job and I went back to college and acquired a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Information Systems.  I was really pushing the envelope during that period of time.  I was working 10 to 12 hours a day and some weekends.  I was also traveling all over the United States for my company.

My SCD is affected by high altitude, sudden changes in temperature, Stress, cold weather and over exertion.  When I was working I would push the envelope every time I flew on an airplane, every time I went to a place like Lake Tahoe, every time I tried to go swimming, and the over exertion from exercise and other sports activities.

Now when I fly over an hour or so I have to have oxygen on the plane.  I try to stay inside on cold and rainy days.  I try not to go to colder climates, I don’t go to Lake Tahoe anymore and swimming is out of the question.

As you age the trips to the doctor become more frequent.  I have been told that my insides are equivalent to a 95-year-old.  That is hard to believe when you look in the mirror and see a person that does not look 65.  But whenever I look in the mirror I have to tell myself I am very old inside and I need to be careful of how I live now.

Between 60 and now, I have found that I have some arthritic joints that like to visit when it is damp and or cold. It is harder to stay warm; I attribute that to a more sedentary life style.  The sedentary life style comes from a lack of energy.  It does not matter what I do to try to increase your energy levels, the body only has so much to give now.  Take that and like it or push the envelope and take your chances. I am learning to push gently if I push at all at this age.

Everyday Heroes - BCP’s Diversity Enewsletter

March 2014
February 2014
January 2014

December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013

December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012

Everyday Heroes: December 2011
Everyday Heroes: November 2011
Everyday Heroes: October 2011
Everyday Heroes: September 2011
Everyday Heroes: August 2011
Everyday Heroes: July 2011
Everyday Heroes: June 2011
Everyday Heroes: May 2011


Blood Buddy Program

Bring a buddy to save lives and get two free movie tickets! Fill out the “Blood Buddy” card and give it to a buddy who’s never donated blood with BCP. When your buddy donates blood and turns in the card, we’ll add enough points to your hero account for you to redeem two movie tickets online! Participating theaters will show up when you type in your zip code to redeem the tickets.
Click here to download “Blood Buddy” card

“We Want to See You Again!” Program

Donate blood within five months of your first donation and receive enough “hero” points to redeem a movie ticket online! Participating theaters will show up when you type in your zip code to redeem the tickets. Fill out the “We Want to See You Again!” card and give it to a BCP staff member.
Click here to download “We Want To See You Again!” card

African-American Blood Donor Program

The Challenge for African-Americans

Click here to download the African-American Blood Donor Program brochure.

Thirteen-year-old Angel is suffering from a severe pain crisis. Her mom carries her into the hospital because she cannot walk. Twins Joshua and Jordan, high school freshmen, experience similar pain episodes and are hospitalized about five times a year. All three have sickle cell disease. Angel, Joshua and Jordan depend on blood transfusions to help them battle this devastating illness. Yet donated blood might not always be available for them.

About 90,000 to 100,000 people in the United States suffer from sickle cell disease, mostly African-Americans. These patients – most of whom are children – need to undergo regular blood transfusions. Often, they develop antibodies to the blood they receive, leading to potentially life-threatening transfusion reactions. But if they can receive blood that’s more closely matched to their own, that risk is minimized. And the best matches are found among other African-Americans.

In addition, African-Americans face other serious health challenges that may require blood transfusions, including kidney disease, high blood pressure and higher birth rates of premature babies.

To meet the needs of patients, Blood Centers of the Pacific must collect more than 150,000 pints of blood each year. Yet, of those eligible to donate blood, less than 4 percent do. And of those who give, just 3 percent are African-Americans.
The numbers just don’t add up.

We need more African-Americans to close the gap. We need more African-American blood donors to save lives in the community. We need you.

Donating Blood Is The Answer

Donating blood is safe, simple and it saves lives. Donated blood is precious. And there’s no substitute for it. The entire process takes less than an hour and is virtually painless. At your blood donation, you’ll also be given a “mini-physical,” where we take your temperature, your blood pressure and test your iron. That way, we ensure giving is safe for you. After your donation, your blood is tested, typed and sent to a patient in need.

You can donate blood at one of our centers or at one of the hundreds of blood drives we run throughout the community. These drives are held at schools, places of worship, businesses and civic organizations and are coordinated by our Diversity Program Specialist.

Recognizing our Heroes

Every hero deserves recognition and our blood donors are no exception! When you become a blood donor with BCP, you’ll be automatically enrolled in our special “Find the Hero in Me” program. Commit to donating blood at least three times a year and you’ll get to select special gifts like movie tickets and ice cream. Reach various donation milestones and you’ll earn even more thank-you gifts! And at each donation, you’ll also receive a free cholesterol test so you can ensure your good health.

Who’s Eligible to Donate Blood?

Anyone who is in good health, is at least 17-years-old (16, with parental consent), weights at least 110 pounds, and is not at risk for hepatitis or HIV is eligible to donate blood.

To be tested as a match to donate for patients like Angel, Joshua and Jordan, or to join the African-American Blood Donor program at BCP, call 1-800-707-8483.

About Sickle Cell Anemia

An inherited disorder of the red blood cells, sickle cell disease is the most common genetic disorder in African-Americans. People with sickle cell have red blood cells that contain an abnormal type of hemoglobin. Instead of their normal round shape, red blood cells are crescent-shaped and have difficulty passing through the body’s small blood vessels. This eventually damages vessels and tissues, which can be extremely painful.

One in 500 African-Americans suffer from sickle cell anemia, while one in 12 African-Americans carry the sickle cell trait. Patients with the disease may need 15 to 25 blood transfusions each year. And there’s no substitute for this lifesaving gift.

Assistant Director

Blood Centers of the Pacific

Donor Collections, San Francisco

In accordance with Federal, State, AABB, cGMPs and Blood Centers’ policies, procedures, regulations and standards, is responsible for the technical and administrative aspects of the blood centers’ collections operations ensuring quality, accuracy and efficiency of all collection functions.  Performs other responsibilities as assigned

Paul Yang

Blood Centers of the Pacific

Originally from Taiwan, Paul had chronic active Hepatitis B which affected him on an “on and off” basis for 10 to 15 years. “Back then, I had no knowledge about the disease. I didn’t even know I had it,” said Paul. “I just thought I was sick with the flu, but then the periods between each bout shortened from months into weeks. I also felt weak and lost weight.”

Coupled with the lack of knowledge about the disease and transplants was also denial. “I did not want a liver transplant - I was in denial that I would die pretty soon,” said Paul. “But then I thought, either way I am going to die, so why not.”

According to the United Network For Organ Sharing (UNOS) website, there are currently more than 80,000 on the national waiting list for organs. Paul was fortunate. Sixteen years ago, the statistic was about a fifth of what it is today – there were 16,026 on the waiting list then. “I was pretty lucky,” he said. “I was on the priority list and received a liver within a week. On August 20th, 1988 I received a liver transplant and 221 units of blood during the nine and a half hours of surgery.” After two to three months, Paul recovered and “got better.”

These days, Paul is appreciative of those who donate organs and blood. “This has given me a second chance at life,” said Paul. “I am really thankful.” Although he still has to take immunosuppressant medication, Paul said he has regained his strength.

Lauren Larsen

Blood Centers of the Pacific

Lauren Larsen had her whole life before her. She was happily married and had a successful career in the corporate world, having spent 16 years in management and marketing. But in the spring of 2000, Lauren’s life changed when she experienced pregnancy complications during the birth of her daughter Clare, triggering the need for more than 200 pints of blood.

As a result, she unexpectedly assumed the role as a blood donation advocate, appearing in television public service announcements; speaking at more than 200 national and regional transfusion medicine conferences, service organization meetings, and blood center events, including BCP’s donor recognition luncheons.

Currently, Lauren is the President and Chief Ambassador of the Foundation for America’s Blood Centers, which supports the independent
blood centers that collect half the United States’ blood supply.

For all of her grassroots efforts to promote blood donation, Lauren was awarded the 2001 Larry Frederick Award from America’s Blood Centers. And she is also the recipient of the 2006 Outstanding Achievement Award presented by AABB. In addition to her work with nonprofit blood centers, Larsen is also active in several other causes. In 2006, she hosted the largest fundraiser to date for the Preeclampsia Foundation, and she offers CEU courses for nurses, seeking to raise awareness about the warning signs and potential devastation of preeclampsia. In 2007, she and her husband, Jeff, launched a grassroots initiative to drill wells in war-torn areas of Southern Sudan, bringing a clean and safe water supply to thousands of local villagers. Their next drilling expedition is scheduled for December 2011.

Most recently, Lauren is the author of the memoir, Zuzu’s Petals: A True Story of Second Chances, which chronicles her experience with near-fatal preeclampsia and the unexpected life that unfolded as a result. Following is a note from Lauren:

I originally began writing Zuzu’s Petals: A True Story of Second Chances to help others understand the depth of suffering that accompanies a long-term stay in the intensive care unit, and to offer encouragement to those in similar situations. But the longer it took me to put my story on paper (nine years to be exact), the more time I had to reflect on the impact that hundreds of people—nurses, doctors, blood donors, family
members, and friends—had had on my life—not only saving it, but forever changing it. You see, nearly dying actually taught me how to live, and with this shift in perspective and priorities came an overwhelming sense of gratitude. And that gratitude demanded expression.

I began by hosting a grassroots campaign to thank nonprofit blood centers, which then evolved into an eight-year national speaking tour with fundraisers benefiting America’s Blood Centers, the Preeclampsia Foundation and Project Education Sudan. Through the hundreds of talks I gave, I began to understand the power that storytelling could have in inspiring others to turn their compassion into action.

With that in mind, Zuzu’s Petals has a unique author-publisher agreement in place to donate at least ten percent of the publisher’s selling price to causes related to my story—blood donation, preeclampsia research and education, and access to clean water in southern Sudan.

With love, light, and laughter…

For more information about Lauren, visit

Meghan Masterson

Blood Centers of the Pacific

Meghan Masterson had always been active and healthy until she developed swelling in her hands and feet, and experienced weight gain. What she had attributed to “college student weight gain” turned out to be lupus nephritis – an autoimmune disease.

Meghan’s kidneys weren’t functioning and her hemoglobin count was only three and she had only four units of blood in her body! With the dramatic blood loss, doctors diagnosed her as having thrombotic throbocytopenic purpura (TTP). It impeded clotting and has a clogging effect – Meghan was bleeding to death.

After eight months of dialysis and receiving 987 units of blood components, Meghan improved. Said Meghan, “If there weren’t 987 to give blood, I wouldn’t be alive right now.” Today Meghan is doing well and has regained her energy for life again.

Rito Delgado

Blood Centers of the Pacific

Rito Delgado never forgets that blood donors saved his life 23 years ago. Incredibly, he remembers almost everything that happened to him that tragic night when he was hit by a drunk driver and pinned between two cars. He remembers comforting his sister who was by his side at the scene, as firefighters rushed to save his life. He remembers seeing his white pants turn red from the massive amount of blood he lost; he remembers the ambulance ride to the hospital and being curious as to what route they were taking; he remembers being told that he suffered massive injuries to both of his legs.

Rito underwent five surgeries during his 3-month hospital stay. During that time he received numerous lifesaving blood transfusions. “I remember that the nurse told me that I received about 13 pints of blood during just my first surgery,” Rito recalls.

It took Rito a full year to recover. Even though his scars are long healed, he still remembers so much about the night that changed his life. And because he remembers, he now donates his blood and his time to help patients who need it and to inspire eligible blood donors to give the gift of life.


Blood Centers of the Pacific

Five years ago, Stuart was crossing a busy street when he was struck by a passenger van. He sustained multiple injuries, including traumatic brain injury, broken limbs and severe injuries to the arteries connected to his heart. Stuart was dead at the scene until he was resuscitated by an off duty firefighter.

At the hospital he was rushed into emergency surgery for nearly 15 hours to repair the tears to his aortic arch. The surgical team used 38 units of blood to sustain him. Midway through the surgery, doctors reported to Stuart’s family that they had used every unit of blood available in the area and only a couple of units of packed cells of the type they needed remained in the region. “If he needs more blood, we’re in trouble,” the surgeon told them. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘You mean my son might die because there’s not enough donated blood?’” says Stuart’s mother, Martha.

“Stuart did make it and he’s doing just fine, and part of the reason why is that 38 people I will never know cared enough to donate their blood to someone they would never meet,” Martha says. Today Stuart is a full time college student who’s also working toward his black belt. “Every year on the anniversary of the accident we celebrate my son’s real birthday—the day God gave him back to us and the day we realized that thanks to 38 strangers who cared, we would get to keep him.”


Blood Centers of the Pacific

When Isabella was 2 –years old, she was diagnosed with severe Aplastic Anemia. From the first day she was admitted to the hospital, she began receiving lifesaving blood products. After her treatment, her immune system was severely compromised and for the next several months she needed regular blood and platelet transfusions. Each time she had to go in for a transfusion, Isabella would say that she was getting red or orange Kool-Aid.

Today Isabella is a typical 3-year-old and is responding well to her treatment. She has been transfusion-free since October 2004.  “I can’t begin to express in words how much blood donation has meant to my family,” says her mother, Alixandria. “Without the many transfusions she received, she would not be here today. Through their unselfish generosity, blood donors have given my daughter another chance at living a life that every child deserves to live.”

Useful Links

Federal Health Organizations

State Health Organizations

Blood Banking Organizations

Blood Research Organizations

BCP Partners in Health

For information about emergency preparedness:

For the latest traffic information (so you can get to the blood center on time!):

Donating Blood Step-By-Step

About the Donation Process

Donating blood is one of easiest ways to support your community. Your donation will help save the life of up to three people!  If you’ve never donated blood before, you’re probably wondering what you can expect and you may even be a little nervous, but don’t worry!  Giving blood is safe and simple.  Although the actual blood draw takes only a few minutes, the entire donation process takes about an hour.

Step 1 Registration

  • Present your photo ID Card
  • Read information sheet about donating blood.

Step 2 Donor Health History and Mini Physical

  • Provide basic demographic and health information
  • Answer questions about past and present health history (information is kept private)
  • Undergo mini exam to determine if you are able to donate (temperature, blood   pressure, heart rate). Give blood drop to determine hemoglobin level.

Step 3 Hydration Station

  • Drink water or other beverage prior to your donation.  The more hydrated you are, the faster your donation will be and the better you’ll feel afterwards

Step 4 Donation

  • Sit in one of our specialized comfy donor “lounge chairs”
  • Answer a few questions from a staff member
  • Once the needle is in place, it usually takes less than 10 minutes to draw a unit (about a pint) of blood.  You’ll squeeze a ball to keep the blood flowing while you read, relax or chat with one of our nurses
  • Finish your donation, after which the needle will be removed and a bandage applied (the bandage is a great way to show off what a hero you are!)

Step 5 Visit the Canteen

  • Sit, relax and have a snack and drink at our donor canteen for a few minutes (California law states you’ll need to hang out with us for at least 15 minutes)
  • All Done! Enjoy your day. You’ve earned it!  You’ve found the Hero in you!

Step 6 After Donation

  • Avoid strenuous physical activity or heavy lifting for a few hours. If you feel light-headed, lie down until feeling better.

Click here to find out more about where and when you Find the Hero in You by donating blood!

Variety of Medical Treatments

Coming Soon!

Sorry, this page is still under development. Please check back with us again soon.

Hereditary Hemochromatosis Donation Program

Hereditary Hemochromatosis (HH) is a genetic disease that results in iron overload. The preferred treatment for reducing iron stores is periodic phlebotomy.

In the past, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required that blood collected from people with HH be discarded unless it was labeled as donated by an individual with this condition. Unfortunately, this differentiation of HH labeled blood from volunteer community blood caused hospitals to decline blood from HH donors.

In 2001, however, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded that “blood donors with (hereditary) hemochromatosis… do not pose a greater risk to blood safety than other donors,” (NIH press release, 9/25/01). There was no longer a need to distinguish HH blood from community blood. Now, blood centers may receive a variance from FDA regulations that allows them to use this blood for transfusion, without labeling it as HH blood. Blood Centers of the Pacific (BCP) received such a variance in January, 2003.

If an individual’s blood is collected as a HH, they are NOT eligible as a community donor that day, and will be charged for a therapeutic phlebotomy AND must have an appointment made with Special Donations.

The phlebotomy frequency for each HH patient is determined by their personal physician. Patients who require phlebotomy more often than every 56 days will require a prescription or doctor’s order specifying the frequency.

HH patients who have had previous therapeutic phlebotomies at BCP must be evaluated for donor eligibility before their first community blood donation. Once they are eligible, HH donors can donate at any BCP donation center. Mobile blood drives, however, are not able to take HH donors at this time.

For more information, please contact Special Donations at 800-215-6225.

Laurice Levine

Blood Centers of the Pacific

Laurice was born with thalassemia intermedia. As if that wasn’t enough, at 25, Laurice was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. Because her body could not manufacture sufficient hemoglobin, her heart could not keep up the pace and she needed to start receiving blood transfusions. Twice a month, Laurice receives two pints of lifesaving blood and will continue to do so for the rest of her life.

“Prior to each transfusion, I say a prayer thanking each donor for giving me life,” said Laurice. “I also bless and wish each donor with continued life and good health.” Today, Laurice remains an active and vital person in her community.

Patient Stories

Got a Story to Tell?

Do you know someone whose life was saved by a blood transfusion?

Or perhaps you’ve had a blood transfusion yourself and would like to share your experience?

If you’ve got a “blood-related” story to share, we’d like to feature you on our website, in our newsletters, etc…!

So, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and help to inspire hesitant potential blood donors to taking their first step at helping to save lives!

Got Questions About Blood? / Facts About Blood And Blood Banking

How much blood is donated each year? How much blood is transfused each year?*

About 12.6 million units (including approximately 643,000 autologous donations) of whole blood are donated in the United States each year by approximately eight million volunteer blood donors. These units are transfused to about four million patients per year.

Typically, each donated unit of blood, referred to as whole blood, is separated into multiple components, such as red blood cells, plasma, and platelets. Each component is generally transfused to a different individual, each with different needs.

The need for blood is great—on any given day, approximately 34,000 units of red blood cells are needed. Accident victims, people undergoing surgery, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer, or other diseases, such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia, all utilize blood. More than 23 million units of blood components are transfused every year.

Who donates blood?

Less than 5 percent of healthy Americans eligible to donate blood, actually do so. According to studies, the average donor is a college-educated white male, between the ages of 30 and 50, who is married and has an above-average income. However, a broad cross-section of the population donates every day. Furthermore, these “average” statistics are changing, and women and minority groups are volunteering to donate in increasing numbers. While persons 65 years and older compose 13 percent of the population, they use 25 percent of all blood units transfused.

Patients scheduled for surgery may be eligible to donate blood for themselves, a process known as autologous blood donation. In the weeks before non-emergency surgery, an autologous donor may be able to donate blood that will be stored until the surgical procedure.

Where is blood donated?

There are many places where blood donations can be made. Bloodmobiles (mobile blood drives on specially constructed buses) travel to high schools, colleges, churches, and community organizations. People can also donate at community blood centers and hospital-based donor centers. Many people donate at blood drives at their places of work. Community blood centers collect approximately 88 percent of the nation’s blood, and hospital-based donor centers account for the other 12 percent.

What are the criteria for blood donation?

To be eligible to donate blood, a person must generally be at least 17 years of age (California and other states permit younger people to donate with parental consent); be in good health; and weigh at least 110 pounds. Most blood banks have no upper age limit. All donors must pass the physical and health history examinations given prior to donation.

The donor’s body replenishes the fluid lost from donation in 24 hours. It may take up to two months to replace the lost red blood cells. Whole blood can be donated once every eight weeks.

What is the most common blood type?

The approximate distribution of blood types in the US population is as follows. Distribution may be different for specific racial and ethnic groups:

O Rh-positive
38 percent
B Rh-positive
9 percent
O Rh-negative
7 percent
B Rh-negative
2 percent
A Rh-positive
34 percent
AB Rh-positive
3 percent
A Rh-negative
6 percent
AB Rh-negative
1 percent

In an emergency, anyone can receive type O red blood cells, and type AB individuals can receive red blood cells of any ABO type. Therefore, people with type O blood are known as “universal donors” and those with type AB blood are known as “universal recipients.” In addition, AB Plasma donors can give to all blood types.

What tests are performed on donated blood?

After blood is drawn, it is tested for ABO group (blood type) and Rh type (positive or negative), as well as for any unexpected red blood cell antibodies that may cause problems in the recipient. Screening tests also are performed for evidence of donor infection, such as hepatitis viruses B and C, human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) 1 and 2, human T-lymphotropic viruses (HTLV) I and II, syphilis, West Nile Virus and T.cruzi infection. The specific tests performed are listed below:

  • Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)
  • Hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc)
  • Hepatitis C virus antibody (anti-HCV)
  • HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibody (anti-HIV-1 and anti-HIV-2)
  • HTLV-I and HTLV-II antibody (anti-HTLV-I and anti-HTLV-II)
  • Syphilis antibody
  • Trypanosoma cruzi antibody (Chagas Disease)
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing (NAT) for HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and West Nile Virus

When are blood donors needed most?

While blood donors are needed throughout the year, they are most needed during holidays and in the summer. It is during these times that the number of donations declines while the demand continues or even increases. While a given individual may be unable to donate, he or she may be able to recruit a suitable donor. Relatives and friends of a patient requiring a blood transfusion may wish to help their loved one. Donating blood to replenish the units that were needed is one of the best gifts one can give.

*Data provided by the National Blood Data Resource Center for 1997.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Blood Centers of the Pacific

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates and licenses all blood banks. To learn more about federal policies related to blood, the latest in research and other important national information.

Visit the FDA’s Blood FAQs for answers to your blood questions.

Visit these other links to learn more about blood donation!

Blood Safety

Blood Centers of the Pacific

The blood supply in the United States is much safer today than ever before. The risk of HIV transmission has been nearly eliminated and the risk of hepatitis transmission greatly reduced thanks to multiple levels of safeguards, including:

  • comprehensive evaluation of donors' medical and social history to exclude donors who may be carriers of infectious agents
  • physical examination of the donor
  • strict donation procedures using sterile supplies
  • laboratory testing

Blood Centers of the PacificThese procedures are followed by all blood centers nationwide and are monitored under the regulatory guidance of the Food and Drug Admnistration (FDA).

Only volunteers are permitted to donate blood, and there are no incentives to give. Studies prove that community volunteers are the safest source of blood for transfusion. Every donor completes a health history questionnaire and screening interview to identify behaviors that indicate a high risk for carrying blood borne disease. Strict confidentiality, as well as the absence of incentives or pressure to donate, encourage honest answers and deferral of any potential donor with possible health risks.

Every time someone donates blood, his or her blood is tested for evidence of infectious disease, including hepatitis B and C; HIV 1 and 2; HTLV I and II; syphilis; and CMV. The donor's blood type also is determined. Any unit of blood that shows evidence of carrying a disease is discarded and the donor is deferred from subsequent donation.

Blood History

The first recorded successful human blood transfusion was accomplished in 1818, but due to the lack of knowledge and research, it was followed by many blood transfusion failures. Some 80 years later, it was discovered that inherited differences in people’s red cells were the cause of many of the incompatibilites seen with transfusions. Four blood types were identified - A, B, AB and O. This discovery revolutionized hematology and led the way for successful blood transfusions.

During World War I, when human blood was needed for transfusions for wounded soldiers, scientists began to study how to preserve and transport blood. But it was not until World War II that the development of effective preservative solutions made blood transfusions widely and safely available. Since then, there have been many advances, such as the discovery of the Rh blood group system and technical developments such as the introduction of the plastic bag for safer blood collection.

By the end of 1947, several blood banks had been established in major cities across the United States and blood donation was promoted to the public as a way of fulfilling one’s civic responsibility.

Freezing of red blood cells, separation of different blood components by centrifugation, apheresis (extraction of one blood component and returning the rest to the donor) and many other discoveries and advancements make for full utilization of every donation. Each blood element can be used to treat different diseases.

Today, in light of HIV, Hepatitis C and many other diseases, the federal government has enforced regulations for blood screening tests in an effort to improve blood safety and to reduce the risk from blood transfusions. To further ensure the safety of the blood supply, the government outlawed paying someone for his or her blood.

Human blood is precious. There is no substitute for it and there is no way to manufacture it outside the body. Yet, millions of times each year, human blood is required to save the lives of people suffering from disease or who are victims of accidents.

That is why BCP plays such a vital role in helping save lives in our community.

Needing Blood

Most of us will require a blood transfusion at some point in our lives. Blood Centers of the Pacific provides needed blood for a population of more than 2.2 million. To do this, BCP needs approximately 500 pints of blood daily.

In order to assure that patients who need blood can have access to it immediately, there must be a ready supply on hospital shelves. After natural disasters and other tragedies, people tend to donate more blood. However, it is the people who donate regularly whose blood saves lives during emergency situations because it is there waiting on the hospital shelves.

Major Reasons Patients Need Blood

  • Cancer treatment
  • Heart and blood vessel disease
  • Disease of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Emergencies such as auto accidents and burns
  • Organ transplant
  • Marrow transplant
  • Blood disorders such as anemia and hemophilia

Blood Cells

Blood Centers of the Pacific

Blood Cells Are Produced In Marrow

Red cells, white cells and platelets are made in the marrow of bones, especially the vertebrae, ribs, hips, skull and sternum. These essential blood cells fight infection, carry oxygen and help control bleeding.

Plasma Carries Blood Cells

Plasma is a pale yellow mixture of water, proteins and salts. One of the functions of plasma is to act as a carrier for blood cells, nutrients, enzymes and hormones.

Blood Centers of the PacificCopyright: Dennis Kunkel
University of Hawaii

Red Cells Deliver Oxygen

Red cells are disc-shaped cells containing hemoglobin, which enables the cells to pick up and deliver oxygen to all parts of the body.

White cells are the body's primary defense against infection. They can move out of the blood stream and reach tissues being invaded.

Blood Centers of the Pacific

White Cells Defend The Body

White cells are the body's primary defense against infection. They can move out of the blood stream and reach tissues being invaded.

Platelets Help Control Bleeding

Platelets are small cells in the blood that control bleeding. They form clusters to plug small holes in blood vessels and assist in the clotting process.

56 Facts About Blood and Blood Donation

One for each day between your blood donation!

  1. More than 4.5 million patients need blood transfusions each year in the U.S. and Canada.
  2. 43,000 pints: amount of donated blood used each day in the U.S. and Canada.
  3. Someone needs blood every two seconds.
  4. Only 37 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood – less than 10 percent do annually**.
  5. About 1 in 7 people entering a hospital need blood.
  6. One pint of blood can save up to three lives.
  7. Healthy adults who are at least 17 years old, and at least 110 pounds may donate about a pint of blood—the most common form of donation—every 56 days, or every two months, depending on iron levels. Females receive 53 percent of blood transfusions; males receive 47 percent.
  8. 94 percent of blood donors are registered voters.
  9. Four main red blood cell types: A, B, AB and O. Each can be positive or negative for the Rh factor. AB is the universal recipient; O negative is the universal donor of red blood cells.
  10. Dr. Karl Landsteiner first identified the major human blood groups – A, B, AB and O – in 1901.
  11. One unit of blood can be separated into several components: red blood cells, plasma, platelets and cryoprecipitate.
  12. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body’s organs and tissues.
  13. Red blood cells live about 120 days in the circulatory system.
  14. Platelets promote blood clotting and give those with leukemia and other cancers a chance to live.
  15. Plasma is a pale yellow mixture of water, proteins and salts.
  16. Plasma, which is 90 percent water, makes up 55 percent of blood volume.
  17. Healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets.
  18. Blood or plasma that comes from people who have been paid for it cannot be used to human transfusion.
  19. Granulocytes, a type of white blood cell, roll along blood vessel walls in search of bacteria to engulf and destroy.
  20. White cells are the body’s primary defense against infection.
  21. Apheresis is a special kind of blood donation that allows a donor to give specific blood components, such as platelets.
  22. 42 days: how long most donated red blood cells can be stored.
  23. Five days: how long most donated platelets can be stored.
  24. One year: how long frozen plasma can be stored.
  25. Much of today’s medical care depends on a steady supply of blood from healthy donors.
  26. 2.7 pints: the average whole blood and red blood cell transfusion.*
  27. Children being treated for cancer, premature infants and children having heart surgery need blood and platelets from donors of all types, especially type O.
  28. Anemic patients need blood transfusions to increase their red blood cell levels.
  29. Cancer, transplant and trauma patients, and patients undergoing open-heart surgery may require platelet transfusions to survive.
  30. Sickle cell disease is an inherited disease that affects between 90,000 to 100,000 people in the United States, 98 percent of whom are of African descent.
  31. Many patients with severe sickle cell disease receive blood transfusions every month.
  32. A patient could be forced to pass up a lifesaving organ, if compatible blood is not available to support the transplant.
  33. Thirteen tests (11 for infectious diseases) are performed on each unit of donated blood.
  34. 17 percent of non-donors cite “never thought about it” as the main reason for not giving, while 15 percent say they’re too busy.
  35. The #1 reason blood donors say they give is because they “want to help others.”
  36. Shortages of all blood types happen during the summer and winter holidays.
  37. Blood centers often run short of types O and B red blood cells.
  38. The rarest blood type is the one not on the shelf when it’s needed by a patient.
  39. There is no substitute for human blood.
  40. If all blood donors gave three times a year, blood shortages would be a rare event (The current average is about two.).
  41. If only one more percent of all Americans would give blood, blood shortages would disappear for the foreseeable future.
  42. 46.5 gallons: amount of blood you could donate if you begin at age 17 and donate every 56 days (depending on iron levels) until you reach 79 years old.
  43. Four easy steps to donate blood: medical history, quick physical, donation and snacks.
  44. The actual blood donation usually takes about 10 minutes. The entire process – from the time you sign in to the time you leave – takes about an hour.
  45. After donating blood, you replace the fluid in hours and the red blood cells within four weeks. It takes eight weeks to restore the iron lost after donating.
  46. You cannot get AIDS or any other infectious disease by donating blood.
  47. 10 pints: amount of blood in the body of an average adult.
  48. One unit of whole blood is roughly the equivalent of one pint.
  49. Blood makes up about 7 percent of your body’s weight.
  50. A newborn baby has about one cup of blood in his body.
  51. Giving blood will not decrease your strength.
  52. Any company, community organization, place of worship or individual may contact their local community blood center to host a blood drive.
  53. Blood drives hosted by companies, schools, places of worship and civic organizations supply roughly half of all blood donations across the United States.
  54. People who donate blood are volunteers and are not paid for their donation.
  55. 500,000: the number of Americans who donated blood in the days following the September 11 attacks.
  56. Blood donation. It’s about an hour of your time. It’s About Life.

** W Riley, et al. The United States’ potential blood donor pool: estimating the prevalence of donor-exclusion factors on the pool of potential donors. Transfusion 2007.

* Source: The 2005 Nationwide Blood Collection and Utilization Survey Report, Department of Health & Human Services

Types of Blood Donation

BCP offers many ways to support the community.

Whole Blood

Donating “whole blood” is the traditional way of donating blood.  After ensuring the donor is eligible and that it’s safe for her or him to give, a unit (about a pint) of blood is drawn into a specialized sealed and sterile bag.  Samples of that donor’s blood are then sent for typing and testing.  Using state-of-the-art technology, 11 different tests are conducted on the blood, including hepatitis, West Nile virus and HIV.  When the unit of blood is cleared, it is separated in to three different blood components – red blood cells, platelets and plasma.  And within just a few days, the donor’s blood is sent to local hospitals for transfusion.  This means that one donation can save three lives!

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible to donate blood?

While the majority of the population is eligible to donate blood, less than four percent does in a given year. Find out if you’re eligible.

Is donating blood safe?

Donating blood is completely safe. Sterile, disposable needles and supplies are used once and are safely discarded after each donation. You cannot get HIV/AIDS or any other disease by donating blood.

I’m afraid I’ll feel faint after giving blood.  Will this happen to me?

The vast majority of people feel fine after giving blood however it’s always important to eat a well-balanced meal before donating and to be well-hydrated.  It also helps to eat an iron-rich diet, especially in the days preceding your donation.  You can find a list of iron-rich foods here. 

Where can I donate blood?

You can donate blood at a one of our 12 centers or at a mobile blood drive. Find a center or blood drive near you.

Do I need to schedule an appointment or can I walk-in to a donor center or blood drive?

While BCP encourages you to schedule an appointment to make the best use of donor and staff time and donation equipment and resources, we do our best to accommodate everyone so we do accept walk-in donors without an appointment.  Wait times could be longer for walk-in donors as we accommodate those donors who have a scheduled appointment first.

How long does it take to donate blood?

It takes about one hour to donate a unit of whole blood. The donation itself takes less than 10 minutes, but plan extra time to complete your donor questionnaire, conduct a health screening and make a post-donation visit to our canteen for snacks.

How often can I donate blood?

Most people can donate whole blood five times a year.

Does BCP pay donors for giving blood?

BCP is fully committed to remaining a volunteer donor supported organization and does not pay for blood donations because studies have shown that volunteer donors provide a safer blood supply. Additionally, the FDA regulates the labeling of blood components for transfusion purposes to indicate whether the product came from a volunteer or a paid donor.

What can I expect when I donate?

Donating blood is safe, simple and it saves lives!  First, you’ll register to donate using a photo ID, then you’ll fill out a questionnaire about your medical history.  After that, a nurse will check your iron level, temperature and blood pressure to make sure it’s safe for you to donate.  Then, you’ll be escorted to one of our comfy donor “beds” where your arm will be cleaned.  Your blood will be drawn into a sterile, one-time-use bag.  The actual donation process usually takes about 10-15 minutes.  When your donation is complete, we’ll ask you to relax in our “donor canteen” for at least 15 minutes and enjoy some refreshments like juice and light snacks.  The entire process usually takes about an hour.  And that’s it!  You’re a hero!

How is my blood donation used?

BCP provides blood donations to 50 hospitals throughout Northern California, where it is used in a variety of lifesaving medical procedures and treatments including organ transplantation, open-heart surgeries, to help new mothers and their newborns, those undergoing chemotherapy and much, much more. Your single blood donation can save and enhance the lives of up to three patients!

What should I do to prepare for my blood donation?

Be sure to eat a healthy, low-fat meal within the four hours prior to your donation. Drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluids both before and after you donate.

Visit our Donating Blood Step-by-Step section to learn about making your first blood donation.

I’m unable to donate blood. Are there other ways that I can support BCP?

Absolutely! There are several ways you can support BCP. You can host a blood drive, make a financial contribution or sign up to volunteer at one of our centers or drives. Your support is greatly needed.

Does my blood donation really save lives?

Because we can process your whole blood donation into multiple blood components, your single blood donation can save and enhance the lives of up to three patients. Read stories of those whose lives have been saved by blood donation.

I don’t often hear about the need for blood. Do you really need my donation?

The need for blood is constant and BCP needs more than 500 donors every day to meet the needs of our community. In fact, because not enough people donate blood, BCP must import 20 percent of its supply from outside the state. Everyday, there are patients like kids with cancer or accident victims requiring blood transfusions.  All blood types are needed, including the most common blood types.

What does it mean to be an automated donor?

An automated donation allows BCP to manage our community blood supply by collecting specific blood components, such as platelets and/or plasma, from our donors. Automated donation is a preferred method of donation for donors with A+, B+, AB+ and AB- blood types. Learn more about plasma and platelet donation.

What happens to my blood after I make my donation?

Once you’ve given blood, it’s sent to our state-of-the-art laboratory for typing and testing.  It is then distributed to hospitals to patients in need.

Is Blood Centers of the Pacific a nonprofit organization?

Yes. Blood Centers of the Pacific is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

Everybody Has It.  Everybody Needs It.

Blood Centers of the Pacific

This red liquid carries oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body, and carries carbon dioxide and other waste products back to the lungs, kidneys and liver for disposal. It fights against infection and helps heal wounds, so we can stay healthy.

There’s no substitute for blood. If people lose blood from surgery or injury or if their bodies can’t produce enough, there is only one place to turn—volunteer blood donors.

Am I Eligible?

General Requirements

Click here to download “Blood Donor Qualifications” (English)

Click here to download “Blood Donor Qualifications” (Spanish)

  • Age: 17 (16 year-olds can donate with a Minor Donor Permission Form signed by a parent or guardian).
  • Weight: At least 110 pounds (different requirements for 16-22-year-olds, please call 1-888-393-GIVE).
  • Diet: A well-balanced meal is recommended within four hours of donation.
  • Health: General good health
  • Identification: Valid identification such as a driver’s license, DMV identification card, passport, etc.

Do not donate if any of the following apply to you:

  • AIDS: You are a person with symptoms or laboratory evidence of HIV infection.
  • Cancer: Hematological, ie: Hodgkin, Leukemia, Lymphomas.
  • Hepatitis: A history of the disease after the age of 11, or a positive lab test for the virus.
  • Organ Failure: Kidney, lung or liver failure.
  • Recreational Drug Use (by injection): Having injected yourself with drugs not prescribed by a physician.
  • United Kingdom: You have visited or lived in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Channel Islands, Gibraltar or Falkland Islands for a total of 3 months or more from 1980 thru 1996.
  • European Countries: If you have spent a cumulative of 5 years or more since 1980.
  • U.S. Military/Dependents/Civilian Military Employee: If you are U.S. Military / Dependent / Civilian Military Employee who spent a cumulative of six months or more between 1980 thru 1996 associated with a military base in Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Italy or Greece, and/or 1980 thru 1990 in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany.
  • Travel: Travel to certain countries may temporarily restrict you from donating blood. Please call 1-888-393-GIVE to learn more. Or click here.

Sexual History

  • You are a man who has had sex with another man since 1977.
  • You have engaged in sex for money or drugs since 1977.

Red Cell Donation Guidelines

In a rolling 12-month period, you may:

  • Give whole blood up to five times
  • Give a double red cell/power red donation up to three times (AND you may give one other red cell donation, like whole blood or red cell/platelet)

While there are many combinations of donations that include red cells, these are the most common donation types that are affected by the limit on donations. For more information, please call 1-888-393-GIVE.

Questions About Eligibility

You may need to wait before donating blood if you have any of these conditions:


Allergy No Wait
Abortion/Miscarriage No Wait
Acupuncture Can donate if single-use equipment is used
Alcohol Consumption No wait unless intoxicated
Anemia (past diagnosis) No wait if corrected
Blood Donation, Apheresis 48 Hours
Blood Donation, Whole 8 Weeks
Cancer, treated surgically with radiation or chemotherapy, except for hematological cancers 1 Year (except basal and squamous cell, if cancer removed)
Cold No wait if no sore throat or fever
Cough No wait if no sore throat or fever
Sore Throat Until well, no symptoms
Diabetes No wait if medically controlled
Ear and Body Piercing See Acupuncture
Electrolysis See Acupuncture
Gonorrhea 1 Year after treatment is completed
Heart Disease - Angina or Heart Attack
(M.I., No Heart Medication)
3 month wait if asymptomatic and no activity restrictions
Heart Disease - Angioplasty or Bypass Surgery
(No Heart Medication)
3 month wait if asymptomatic and no activity restrictions
Hepatitis Contact Depends on Type
Herpes Free of Fever/Systemic Symptoms
High Blood Pressure No Wait if Medically Controlled
Malaria Permanently Deferred
Immigration from Malarial Area 3 Years
Travel to Malarial Area 1 Year
Pregnancy 6 Week Wait After Delivery
Recent Surgery When Released from MD’s Care
Syphilis 1 Year after treatment is complete
Tattoo 1 Year

Immunization/Vaccines (Shots)

Flu/Pneumonia Vaccine No Wait
MMR 4 Weeks
Rubeola (Measles), Yellow Fever, Mumps and Oral Polio 2 Weeks
Rubella (German Measles) 4 Weeks
Hepatitis A No Wait
Hepatitis B 7 day wait
TB Skin Test 48 Hours
Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid (injection) and Cholera No Wait
Typhoid (oral) 14 days
Varicella (Chicken Pox) 4 Weeks
Allergy Shots No Wait


Accutane 1 Month
Allergy Medications No Wait
Antibiotics One Day After Last Dose, symptom-free
Flagyl No Wait
High Blood Pressure Medicine No Wait
Oral Contraceptives No Wait
Propecia 1 Month
Proscar 1 Month
Tegison (for Psoriasis) Permanently Deferred
Tetracycline for Acne No Wait
Vitamins No Wait

BCP’s High School Program

Blood Centers of the Pacific

High school students have a chance to make a big difference in the lives of people in their community. How? By taking part in blood drives and helping to save lives.

Blood Centers of the Pacific (BCP) receives a significant amount of our blood supply from high school blood drives. We rely on the support and dedication of our area high schools to maintain a safe and adequate blood supply for patients throughout the Bay Area.

BCP’s “HEROES for Life” High School Program

Statistics have shown that people who begin donating blood in high school are more likely to continue giving blood throughout their lifetime. BCP’s goal is to cultivate that habit - the “HEROES for Life” High School Program encourages students to take part in blood drives, donate blood and to make it a lifelong commitment.

Useful Info to Download

Want to Become a BCP Volunteer?

If you would like to volunteer at BCP or know someone who would like to help us out, let us know! We offer various volunteer opportunities to high school students and adults. It is a great way to give back, meet new people and learn new skills, while helping to save lives!


Need more information about the BCP’s High School Program or coordinating high school blood drives? Contact Fred McFadden, Field Recruitment Manager, at 415-749-6631 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Thank you for your support of BCP’s high school blood donation program.

Shasta Blood Center

Blood Centers of the Pacific

2680 Larkspur Lane,
Redding, CA 96002

Free Parking

(530) 221-0600

Site & Appointments

1-888-393-GIVE (4483)

Click Here to Schedule an Online Appointment Now!

Center Hours

  • Monday:  8:00am - 3:00pm
  • Tuesday: 11:00am - 6:00pm
  • Wednesday: 8:00am - 3:00pm
  • Thursday: 11:00am - 6:00pm
  • Friday: 8:00am - 3:00pm
  • Saturday: 8:00am - 3:00pm

SBC May 2012

Napa Center

Blood Centers of the Pacific

3230 Beard Road (near Trancas Blvd)
Napa, CA

Free Parking

Site & Appointments

1-888-393-GIVE (4483)

Online Appointment

Center Hours

  • Monday:  closed
  • Tuesday:  11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday:  11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • Thursday:  closed
  • Friday;  8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Saturday;  8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Sunday:  closed


North Bay Center

Blood Centers of the Pacific

1325 Gateway Blvd.
Fairfield, CA 94533

Free Parking

Site & Appointments

1-888-393-GIVE (4483)

Online Appointment

Center Hours

  • Monday:  12:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday:  closed
  • Wednesday:  12:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday:  closed
  • Friday:  8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Saturday:  8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Sunday: Platelets ONLY (no whole blood). Please call for appointments 800-707-8483 (no drop-ins)



Santa Rosa Center

Blood Centers of the Pacific

2324 Bethards Drive
Santa Rosa, CA 95405

Free Parking

Site & Appointments

1-888-393-GIVE (4483)

Online Appointment

Center Hours

  • Monday, Friday, Saturday:  8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday:  12:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday: Platelets ONLY (no whole blood). Please call for appointments 800-707-8483 (no drop-ins)


Santa Rosa Center

Downtown Center

Blood Centers of the Pacific

250 Bush Street
Suite 136 (Mills Building)
San Francisco, CA 94104

No donor parking available. Public transportation strongly encouraged.


1-888-393-GIVE (4483)

Online Appointment

Center Hours

  • Monday:  7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday:  7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday:  7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
  • Thursday:  11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • Friday:  closed
  • Saturday:  closed
  • Sunday:  closed

Irwin Center

Blood Centers of the Pacific

270 Masonic Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94118

Free Parking

Site Phone

(415) 567-6400


1-888-393-GIVE (4483)

Online Appointment

Center Hours

  • Monday:  12 p.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday:  12 p.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday:  12 p.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Thursday:  8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Friday:  8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Saturday:  8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Sunday: Platelets ONLY (no whole blood). Please call for appointments 800-707-8483 (no drop-ins)


Peninsula Center

Blood Centers of the Pacific

111 Rollins Road
Millbrae, CA 94030
Phone: 888-393-4483

Free Parking


1-888-393-GIVE (4483)

Online Appointment

Center Hours

  • Monday:  11:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday:  11:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday:  11:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday:  11:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
  • Friday:  8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Saturday:  8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Sunday: Platelets ONLY (no whole blood). Please call for appointments 800-707-8483 (no drop-ins)



BCP Locations

Online Appointment

Schedule an online appointment to donate whole blood.

Blood Centers of the Pacific has 7 donation centers, located throughout Northern California, and many other opportunities to donate in your community. Please call 1-888-393-GIVE or click on the appropriate link to verify donor hours or to make an appointment,

Blood Centers of the Pacific Locations

Bay Area Region

North Bay Region

North State Region

Donating Plasma

What is Plasma?

Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood, carrying vital nutrients and containing critical clotting factors. Plasma donors can give every four weeks. Blood type AB is the universal plasma type.

Who Needs Plasma?

Plasma is used to treat patients with bleeding disorders, burn victims, organ transplants and premature infants.

What is Apheresis?

Apheresis (ay-fur-ee-sis) is a special kind of blood donation that allows a donor to give specific blood components, such as plasma. During the apheresis procedure, all but the needed blood component are returned to the donor.

Why is Blood Separated?

Different patients need different types of blood components, depending on their illness or injury. After you donate whole blood, the unit is separated into platelets, red cells and plasma in our laboratory.

Who Can Be an Plasmapheresis Donor?

If you have been pregnant or transfused, we ask you to donate lifesaving double red cells or whole blood. The reason for this is to reduce the risk of a serious transfusion reaction in patients known as TRALI. Blood Centers of the Pacific

If you have not been pregnant or tranfused and meet the requirements for donating blood, you probably can give plasma. Apheresis donors must:

  • be at least 17-years-old
  • be in good health
  • weigh at least 110 pounds
  • not have taken aspirin or medication containing aspirin 48 hours prior to donatiing

Are Apheresis Donations Safe?

Yes. Each donation is closely supervised throughout the procedure by trained staff. Depending on the donor’s weight, approximately 200ml to 800ml of plasma is collected. The donation equipment (needle, tubing and collection bags) is sterile and is discarded after every donation, making it virtually impossible to contract a disease from the process.

How Does the Procedure Work?

Blood is drawn from your arm through sterile tubing into a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins the blood to separate the components, which vary in weight and density. The plasma is drawn up into a collection bag, while the remaining blood components are returned to you through your other arm.

How Long Does it Take?

Depending on your weight and height, the actual apheresis donation process will take approximately 70 minutes to two hours. You may watch television or videotapes or dvds, listen to music, surf the Internet, or simply sit back and relax while helping to save lives.

How Can I Become an Apheresis Donor?

Simply call our BCP apheresis coordinators at 1-800-707-8483 for more information or to make an appointment.

Our coordinators are in the call center:
Monday through Thursday from 9am to 8:30pm;
Friday & Saturday from 9am to 3:00pm; and
Sunday from 2:30pm to 8:30pm

We look forward to hearing from you!

Donating Platelets

What are Platelets?

Platelets are blood cells that help control bleeding. When a blood vessel is damaged, platelets collect at the site of the injury and temporarily repair the tear. Platelets then activate substances in plasma which form a clot and allow the wound to heal.

What is Apheresis?

Apheresis (ay-fur-ee-sis) is a special kind of blood donation that allows a donor to give specific blood components, such as platelets. During the apheresis procedure, all but the needed blood component are returned to the donor.

Why is Blood Separated?

Different patients need different types of blood components, depending on their illness or injury. After you donate whole blood, the unit is separated into platelets, red cells and plasma in our laboratory. We used to separate platelets but only two tablespoons of platelets were collected from a whole blood donation. Six whole blood donations must be separated and pooled to provide a single platelet transfusion. However, one apheresis donation provides enough platelets for one complete transfusion—that’s six times the amount collected from a whole blood donation.

Who Needs Platelets?

Many lifesaving medical treatments require platelet transfusions. Cancer patients, those receiving organ or marrow transplants, victims of traumatic injuries, and patients undergoing open heart surgery require platelet transfusions to survive.

Because platelets can be stored for only five days, the need for platelet donations is vast and continuous.

Platelet transfusions are needed each year by thousands of patients such as those undergoing heart surgeries, and organ and marrow transplants and for burn patients.

Who Can Be an Apheresis Donor?

If you meet the requirements for donating blood, you probably can give platelets. Depending on your platelet count, apheresis donors can donate up to once every two weeks. Apheresis donors must:

  • be at least 17-years-old
  • be in good health
  • weigh at least 110 pounds
  • not have taken aspirin or medication containing aspirin 48 hours prior to donatiing

Are Apheresis Donations Safe?

Yes. Each donation is closely supervised throughout the procedure by trained staff. Only a small percentage of your platelets are collected, so there are no risks of bleeding problems. Your body will replace the donated platelets within 48 hours. The donation equipment (needle, tubing and collection bags) is sterile and is discarded after every donation, making it virtually impossible to contract a disease from the process.

How Does the Procedure Work?

Blood is drawn from your arm through sterile tubing into a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins the blood to separate the components, which vary in weight and density. A port is opened along the spinning tubing at the level containing platelets. These platelets are drawn up into a collection bag, while the remaining blood components (red cells and plasma) are returned to you.

How Long Does it Take?

Depending on your weight and height, the actual apheresis donation process will take approximately 70 minutes to two hours. You may watch television or videotapes or dvds, listen to music, surf the Internet, or simply sit back and relax while helping to save lives.

How Can I Become an Apheresis Donor?

Simply call our BCP apheresis coordinators at 1-800-707-8483 for more information or to make an appointment.

Our coordinators are in the call center:
Monday through Thursday from 9am to 8:30pm;
Friday & Saturday from 9am to 3:00pm; and
Sunday from 2:30pm to 8:30pm.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Donating Double Red Cells

Blood Centers of the Pacific

Save More Lives by Donating Double Red Cells!

To meet the ever-increasing demand for blood, BCP is optimizing your blood donations with the double red cell program.

Double red cell donations enable donors to give two doses of red blood cells during one appointment. Or, donors can give one red cell dose and one plasma dose in the same donation.

How Does It Work?

During a double red cell donation, blood is drawn from one arm using a sterile, “single-use” kit. The needed blood components are separated and the remaining blood is returned to the donor along with the saline, thereby replenishing most of the lost fluids. Donors often leave feeling better than a standard whole blood donation because they are better hydrated. It usually takes 10 to 20 additional minutes for a double donation. However,
donors save time by saving double the lives with less visits!

How Your Donation Helps Patients

  • Red cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body. They are most needed after significant blood loss from trauma and surgery and are used to treat anemia and other blood diseases. An automobile accident victim may use anywhere from four to 100 units of red cells.
  • Plasma is used for clotting deficiencies, intra-vascular volume deficits, bleeding disorders, burn victims and plasma exchanges.
  • If donors participated in the double red cell program and gave one to three times a year, they can significantly impact the ability to provide blood whenever and wherever it is needed.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Donors must be in general good health, and at least 17-years-old (16, with parental consent)
  • Men have to be at least 5’1” in height and 130 lbs in weight with a hematocrit of at least 40 percent
  • Women have to be at least 5’5”, 150 lbs with a hematocrit of 40 percent

How Often Can I Donate?

Double red cell donors are eligible to donate again after four months. And for red cells/plasma, two months. This means you’d be donating more in one visit and you’d have less disruption in your busy schedule.

For more information, call 1-888-393-GIVE.


Donating Blood

Donating blood is safe, simple and it saves lives.

Online Appointment

Schedule an appointment to donate whole blood.

10 Reasons to Donate Blood

  • Blood transfusions save lives.
  • There’s no substitute for human blood.
  • Every three seconds, someone needs a blood transfusion.
  • About 1 in 7 people entering a hospital need blood.
  • A pint of blood, separated in to components, can help up to three people.
  • Fulfills your desire to “give back” to the community.
  • You’ll receive free wellness screenings, including blood pressures, cholesterol and iron level every time you donate.
  • You’ll learn your blood type.
  • You’ll earn hero reward points toward free movie tickets, ice cream and more.
  • It’s safe, simple and it saves lives.

Donation Process

  • Prospective donors first complete a health history questionnaire and screening interview.
  • The next step involves a brief physical examination of blood pressure, pulse, temperature and a test for anemia.
  • If the prescribed medical requirements are met, a pint of blood is drawn from the donor. Afterwards, donors are served refreshments while remaining seated for 15 minutes.
  • The entire process usually takes less than one hour.

Where to Donate

Select the most convenient donation location for driving directions and hours.

All Blood Types Are Needed

To best meet patient needs, you are encouraged to donate the following if your blood type is:

1st choice: Platelets
2nd choice: Double red cell
3rd choice: Whole Blood

1st choice: Platelets
2nd choice: Double red ell
3rd choice: Whole blood

1st choice: Plasma
2nd choice: Platelets
3rd choice: Whole blood

1st choice: Double red cell
2nd choice: Whole blood
3rd choice: Platelets

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