Laboratory volunteers save lives with blood donations

In 2020 10% of Northern New Mexico collections came from LANL drives

By David Moore | September 8, 2021

Blood Drive
Since February 2020 the Laboratory has organized 15 blood drives for employees.

Laboratory employee Susan Terp is clear about why she donates blood, a practice she started when she was in college more than 30 years ago.

“My dad was a regular blood donor when he worked for LANL and after he retired he continued to donate pretty much every 8 weeks until he couldn’t due to illness,” she says. “I know donating blood is a life-saving act and I am proud to do it, but for me donating blood is also a way to honor my dad’s memory.”

Since February 2020 the Laboratory has organized 15 blood drives for employees to donate blood to help New Mexicans, and volunteers have donated enough blood to save more than 1000 lives.

In conjunction with the Laboratory’s nonprofit partner Vitalant (formerly United Blood Services), the drives are currently held monthly and have continued throughout the pandemic. Demand for blood has been consistently high, especially when donations across the state dropped in 2020.

It takes 300 blood donations daily in New Mexico to meet the needs of area patients and to be ready for emergencies. 

“We all expect blood to be there for us if we ever need it,” says Aussy Levi, a senior manager at Vitalant. “LANL employees’ continued commitment to blood donation represents a significant contribution to the blood supply in northern New Mexico.”

Last year, Laboratory donors contributed around 10% of Vitalant’s total collection efforts in Northern New Mexico.

“Donating blood is a unique and thoughtful way to serve our region. While it’s not for everyone, it does no harm to the donor and allows them to be a superhero to the recipient,” says organizer Joanna Gillespie from the Laboratory’s Community Partnerships Office. Gillespie’s colleague Selena Valencia managed the first year of the drives before moving to another position at LANL. 

“Laboratory employee blood donors never cease to amaze me with their willingness to fill every donation appointment, and take a short time-out from their work to contribute in this life saving volunteer act,” says Gillespie.

Since the drives began, over 450 donations have been received from Laboratory employees.

- Donation slots at Lab-organized drives are open to LANL employees only. To find a blood drive near you that’s open to the public, visit the Vitalant site here.