Energyneering Solutions, Inc. (ESI) and the Sisters Airport hosted a Red Cross blood drive last Thursday.

The idea started when ESI’s Human Resources Manager, Deb Vanderhoef, read an article sponsored by the American Red Cross advertising their need for blood and plasma donations. She learned that blood donations would be tested for COVID-19 antibodies, indicating that the donor had already had the disease and developed antibody resistance. Thinking some ESI employees might find this information useful and be willing to donate, she sent out a message. She was thrilled at the positive response. Signups for donation times filled up quickly, and additional time slots were opened up for public donors.

“The pandemic has made us all feel so helpless, so this was a way people could help. I think that was a big motivator for people to donate blood, in addition to finding out if they have the COVID-19 antibodies,” Vanderhoef commented.

Rebecca O’Rourke, account manager for American Red Cross PNW who coordinated the event with ESI, said, “We are so thankful that ESI contacted us and hosted the blood drive at Sisters Airport. There were 24 donors signed up, and many were first-time donors. This is vitally important, and we hope they continue to donate three to four times a year. ESI employees were very supportive, and the airport was a great location to host the blood drive. We were able to easily park our semi-trailer there, and when the wind kicked up and blew our tent over, they brought their big ESI service truck over to tie it to and be a wind block. It was a great community effort.”

“Blood is a never-ending need. This summer we are in a dangerously low situation. Blood and platelets are needed for many different reasons. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all need blood,” said O’Rourke.

The American Red Cross is testing all donors for the COVID-19 antibodies. If the antibodies are found to be present, the donor is notified of the results in seven to 10 days. They are then encouraged to donate convalescent plasma, for use in the treatment of active COVID-19 cases. Convalescent plasma products are now being distributed faster than donations are coming in, creating an emergency shortage.

Individuals who have fully recovered and received a verified COVID-19 diagnosis are urged to sign-up to give convalescent plasma by completing the Donor Information Form on www.RedCrossBlood.org/plasma4covid.

“We were very happy to host the blood drive for the Red Cross here at Sisters Airport. This is just one more way for the airport to support the Sisters community. We hope they will come again on a regular basis,” said Julie Benson, owner of Sisters Airport.