A Simple Act Saves Lives

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Dedicated donors like Gary Vaughn help ensure ample supply of life-saving blood in case of emergencies. 

People who know Gary Vaughn may describe him as a devoted father, a committed UPS driver or a doting grandfather. Employees at United Blood Services (UBS) would add one more to add to the list — a local hero.

Vaughn has donated blood platelets every two weeks for the last nine years.  He has a great reason to keep up such a steady donation regimen since his daughter, Meagan Johnson, was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2005.

Blanche Smith, a hospital service technician with United Blood Services, checks in blood packets that were recently donated. UBS employees such as Smith help ensure an ample supply of blood to meet emergency and healthcare needs in the community.
Blanche Smith, a hospital service technician with United Blood Services, checks in blood packets that were recently donated. UBS employees such as Smith help ensure an ample supply of blood to meet emergency and healthcare needs in the community.

Johnson, who is healthier these days, was Vaughn’s catalyst to start donating regularly at UBS.  That’s even with a busy work life where he makes deliveries 12 hours every day.

“I know what she went through and how important platelets were to her,” Vaughn shares.  “She’s also had a [premature] baby who needed a blood transfusion.  I don’t see where my donations go, but I have that first-hand experience and I know how important it is to donate platelets.”

“What I did was just schedule a whole year of donations,” Vaughn explains.  “It works out well.”

Vaughn, a Sparks resident, is one of the many regular donors that UBS relies upon to ensure its Community Blood Program has a supply of lifesaving blood products at all times.  His platelet donations are used to promote clotting when patients are bleeding from trauma injuries or surgeries, or for other serious medical conditions.

UBS, which has served the region since 1957, is able to keep its blood program strong through generous donations from the community. “They give so others can live,” says Steve Thomas, Donor Recruitment Director for UBS in Reno.

There are UBS Community Donation Centers in Reno, Sparks and Carson City. They also have three to five blood drives every day on average throughout northern Nevada. These are held with partners at local businesses, high schools and colleges, and area hospitals, including Renown Health.

UBS maintains a supply of blood products based on hospital usage, with a safety cushion to cover emergencies, such as the Air Races crash in 2011. UBS also has sister locations in the Western U.S. that can ship blood products to Reno in a few hours, which further ensures blood products will be available when needed.

Thomas gives praise to Vaughn and to all donors for their selfless act to ensure our community has a strong and ample blood supply. “When our community needs blood donors, they never fail to come out to help their friends and family members in need of a blood transfusion,” Thomas relates. “Because of them, we have blood products on the shelf when needed. And we hope more people will consider becoming a blood donor, since our need for blood donations never ceases.”

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