The lifeblood of Alaska

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 20:00

Did you know that one in three people will need a blood transfusion in their lifetime?

The Blood Bank of Alaska is a non-profit organization founded in 1962. It is Alaska’s only blood collection, processing and distribution operation. It is a critical component of the entire state’s medical infrastructure. It provides blood products and blood services to 22 Alaskan medical centers or hospitals (public, private, military and Native).

Blood and specialized blood products are used for vehicular accident trauma victims, heart surgery patients, burn victims, kidney disease patients, hip replacement surgery, cancer patients, bone marrow transplants and many other acute medical conditions. Donated blood is used not just for transfusions, but is also processed for other uses such as platelets and plasma.

The Blood Bank of Alaska has an outreach program to increase blood drives and bone marrow registrations targeting rural communities, including Bethel, Barrow, Fairbanks, Delta Junction, Glennallen, Copper Center, Valdez, the Mat Su, the Kenai Peninsula, Juneau, Ketchikan, Petersburg and others.

The Blood Bank of Alaska is the only blood bank in the state and serves everyone and every ethnicity. Over the last 50 years, almost every accident or trauma in the state has resulted in using the Blood Bank of Alaska, saving many lives in the process.

The BBA is in the process of creating a new facility. Their goals are to consolidate blood services within one facility, reducing costs to the organization. They will expand specialty blood product offerings. The facility will support Alaskans who are receiving in-state medical treatment, allowing them to remain near family and home. It will even create jobs for Alaskans via increasing lab blood test services. It will also enable the BBA to remain self-sufficient through increased efficiency and revenue.

So the next time you see the “Bloodmobile” or hear of a blood or marrow drive, think about what you can do. If you are a member of a Lions Club or other non-profit group or club, think about a fundraiser or donation to help them realize the dream of the Blood Bank of Alaska.

Give blood, as the life you save may be your own. For more information check the website at


Finis Sheldon is president of the Eagle River Lions. For more information on Lions, contact Amy Demboski at 301-9179.

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