About every eight weeks or so the San Diego Blood Bank Bloodmobile pulls into Rancon Headquarters parking lot and sets up shop. It’s a good stop for the bus and its lifesaving efforts.
“Rancon has been a wonderful stop for us and especially for the people who were regular donors at our Murrieta Donor Center, says Sue Forester, Account Marketing Manager for San Diego Blood Bank. “When the economy went down we had to close our center in Murrieta. The regularly scheduled blood drives at Rancon have been a real life saver for people in this area.”
While giving back to the community has always been a part of the Rancon spirit, these bimonthly blood drives are part of an effort headed up by the Rancon Group’s Mike O’Donnell, a long-time champion of giving blood.
“There’s no better way to help the community than by giving blood,” says Mike, who has been a dedicated blood donor since he was 18. “There’s always a need for it, and by donating a little time, and a little blood, you’re making a big difference in someone’s life.”
Mike started donating when he was a student at Oregon State. He says he had no primary motivation other than it seemed like a good thing to do. He kept it up through the years, and when SDBB opened a storefront donor center in Murrieta, he became a regular.
“It was great having a donor center right here, and I came in every sixteen weeks to give double reds,” says Mike. “When they closed there was a void for me and a bunch of other people as well, so I started tracking the schedule of bloodmobiles.”
It wasn’t long before he came up with the idea of having the Bloodmobile stop by Rancon. “It was just a suggestion. Little did I know I was going to be in charge.”
But “in charge” he is and he’s been doing a great job of getting the word out. The Rancon stop has exceeded all goals and has collected more than 190 units of blood since February of 2011. The blood drive on August 21 was the eighth time the bloodmobile has visited Rancon.
“We get donors from all our offices at Rancon and we get a lot of the people who used to donate at the center. The word gets out and people come to donate. It’s just a good thing to do, and you can’t help but feel good about it.”
Rancon Group’s Chris Lytle, Project Coordinator, is a regular donor and one who goes the extra mile by donating “double reds,” which takes a little longer and requires 16 weeks between donations instead of just eight weeks.
“When I first signed up with Mike and donated, I found out that I have O-Negative (blood type), which is the universal blood that anyone can use,” says Chris. “Whenever there’s a major trauma or situation that’s the first type of blood they need, so it’s a good thing for me to do.”
Nationwide, according to SDBB, about 37 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, but only about 3 percent actually donate. Check the schedule for the next blood drive by clicking here.