Dekker: Heartland ‘never stops working’
By Julie Dekker Citizen Journalistfirstname.lastname@example.org July 19, 2012 1:56PM
Receptionists Dianne Batka (left) and Arlene Burdick are ready to serve you at Heartland Blood Center in Tinley Park. | Supplied Photo
Updated: August 23, 2012 6:08AM
Heartland Blood Center is one of those places you never think about until you need it. Nestled away in Tinley Park for more than 15 years, HBC never stops working.
Its inception in 1943 makes it one of the oldest independent blood centers in the country. The Tinley Park venue, 16000 Centennial Circle, serves as a blood collection center and corporate office. Heartland has 17 locations around Chicago and Northwest Indiana.
I spoke with Jill Bernard, the director of mobile recruitment at Tinley Park, who explained how this life-saving service works.
We rarely think about our community’s blood supply. It is a precious and vital resource that requires careful management and constant replenishment.
Heartland supplies 650 units of blood products a day to 47 hospitals in the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana. That means 200,000 blood products a year are required from volunteer donors.
Those numbers are astounding — especially considering that blood only can come from people who volunteer — and it creates an impressive, but daunting, challenge. Bernard said the current blood supply is stable, but that can change at any time.
“We have more need in the summer,” Bernard said. “Donations tend to be down at this time of year.”
Heartland Blood Center conducts blood drives at businesses, schools and community groups seven days a week. You may have spotted its mobile collection center driving around town.
The donation process is fairly simple. To begin, you must be age 16 or older and weigh at least 110 pounds.
In fact, Heartland has a special honors award offered to teenagers. Those who donate blood six times before their high school graduations receive Red Honor Cords, which will be presented during their senior honors programs. Students who earn this award can list it on their college applications as a form of community service.
The collection process takes about 10 minutes for whole blood, and the entire process, from registration to finish, takes about 45 minutes.
Heartland also provides automated donation, which collects specific blood products so you can donate red blood cells, platelets and plasma separately or together.
Here are a few blood facts.
† Red blood cells are transfused most often after trauma surgery or anemia.
† Type O is the universal red blood cell donor.
† Type AB is the universal plasma donor.
† Thirty-eight percent of the population has type O positive blood, but only 1 percent has type AB negative.
† Platelets support cancer therapy, open-heart surgery, blood disorders and organ transplants.
† Plasma is used for bleeding disorders.
Heartland officials closely monitor our community’s daily blood needs. Because automated donation is more precise, they can better match those specific needs.
Through Dec. 31, you can earn a $25 American Express Card for every new blood donor you recruit. Donors also will receive a coupon for a free quart of Oberweis ice cream in appreciation of their donation.
If you are able, please consider giving this most precious, life-saving gift.
Information: (800) 786-4483 or visit www.heartlandbc.org.