#HowIPutBeansOnTheTable videos, How folks make money donating blood and plasma.

We are interested in your videos and learning about how you make money by donating blood, plasma or anything else. How much do you make? How easy is it? How long have you gotten paid for blood?

Tell us why you donate in a video 1 min or less. Any format and resolution will do.

We will post them here on the blog and also:

on our youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/thebloodbanker
on our twitter feed: http://twitter.com/#!/BloodDonation
on our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BloodRegistry

We will be using the hashtag: #HowIPutBeansOnTheTable on twitter and elsewhere to get the word out. Please look for this and feel free to use this to spread the word to your circles.

World Blood Donor Day 2015: Celebrating a Day of Gratitude and Saving Lives

The human blood, as we know it, is one of the most precious gifts that we could ever give to our fellow men— it does not cost a single dime, is almost painless, and can save thousands of lives. Come to think of it, even just one donated blood bag beats any material possession anytime.

This year, people from all parts of the globe have proven, once again, how much they value the importance of blood and its great effect to all patients worldwide.

 

WORLD BLOOD DONOR DAY CELEBRATED

Yesterday, June 14, people of all races united and became one in celebrating this year’s World Blood Donor Day. With the theme “Thank You For Saving My Life” and slogan “Give freely, give often. Blood donation matters,” various blood donation centers geared up their equipment, and helpful donors— young and old, new and not-so-new— rolled up their sleeves to give the ultimate gift of life.

On the day itself, the World Health Organization (WHO) inspired and motivated potential donors to act and make a change. They also reached out to all member states and encouraged them to acquire blood supplies from voluntary, unpaid donors.

“The best way to guarantee a safe and adequate supply of blood and blood products for transfusion is to have a good supply of regular donations by voluntarily unpaid blood donors,” Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO’s Director-General said on their press release.

“More voluntary blood donors are needed to meet the increasing needs and to improve access to this life-saving therapy,” added Dr. Herman Montenegro from WHO’s Department of Service Delivery and Safety.

 

ONE WORLD, ONE MISSION

June 14 became a momentous event for everyone across the globe, because not only did people celebrate World Blood Donor Day— they also gathered and participated in the process of gift-giving, which is donating blood.

China

The celebration of World Blood Donor Day for 2015 was hosted by China. Through the Shanghai Blood Center and the WHO Collaborating Center for Blood Transfusion Services, the country hosted some of the celebration’s main events in their native land, with millions of people in other parts of the globe celebrating, too.

South Africa

The folks over South Africa also celebrated World Blood Donor Day with high hopes of more volunteer donors.

According to the South African National Blood Service (SANBS), they have collected more than one million units of blood in a year, but this does not decrease the demand for more healthy blood.

This is why on this year’s World Blood Donor Day, the SANBS greatly encouraged more people to give blood, even if it means they are going to be unpaid.

San Diego, California

The San Diego Blood Bank is one of the many participants of World Blood Donor Day in the United States.

Having been in service since 1950, the blood bank celebrated WBDD by hosting mobile blood drives and encouraging people to donate regularly, not just once.

Brian Yockey, a regular donor, shared his experiences and explained that more people should consider donating blood, because if they do not, big problems will arise.

“Well, we’ll run out of blood. If you went to the hospital and needed blood transfusion, there wouldn’t be any blood available to give to you,” said Yockey. “I think everybody in San Diego should donate blood on a regular basis, just like I do.”

India

In India, not only did people celebrate World Blood Donor Day, but they also honored some of the country’s greatest heroes— blood donors.

PAHAL, a youth organization in the country, gave praise and gratitude to 27 active blood donation institutions and 18 blood donors. This was in collaboration with the Punjab State AIDS Control Society and Medical Superintendent, Civil Hospital.

Another organization, the Bharat Vikas Parishad Chetna and Blood Association, also organized a blood donation camp at Shri mahavir Jalin Bhawan on World Blood Donor Day, where they gathered 147 volunteer donors.

In Manipur, several organizations (State Blood Transfusion Council, Manipur State AIDS Control Society, and Life Savers Manipur) joined forces to put up a function at Gandhi Memorial Hall to celebrate World Blood Donor Day, with a goal to address the need for more blood donors.

Philippines

In the Philippines, people celebrated World Blood Donor Day by participating in the Department of Health’s (DOH) 6th National Blood Summit in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

The activities that were organized by the DOH were all aimed at one goal: to promote the World Blood Donor Day and the mission it stands for. Some of the events lined up to mark the day were scientific conferences, publication of relevant stories, commemorative events, and more.

Cambodia

In celebration of the World Blood Donor Day, Cambodian Health Minister Mam Bunheng reached out to more people who can donate blood, since only 4 out of 1,000 people willingly give blood in their country.

“I’d like to appeal to youth, students, and all citizens to contribute further to increasing the number of blood donors in Cambodia,” he spoke while the celebration of WBDD was ongoing.

Even though their blood donation supply increased by 5% within the first five months of 2015, the need for more blood is still going strong. This is why the WBDD became a very useful tool for Cambodian officials to spread the word against blood supply shortage.

Fiji

The people of Wainikoro, Labasa celebrated World Blood Donor Day in the simplest way possible— by joining the Nabala Secondary School marching band. The events of this year’s WBDD in Fiji was officiated by Dr. Mecuisela Tuicakau, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

 

TILL THE NEXT WORLD BLOOD DONOR DAY

This year’s celebration was a mixture of different approaches by entirely different parts of the world— some hosted blood drives, while others talked about the importance of blood and donors.

Despite all these, their goal is only one and it remains the same: to fully educate more people about the extreme importance of ample blood supply and more volunteer blood donors.

With your help, we can end this scarcity in the world’s blood supply. The World Health Organization, together with all blood donation centers worldwide, hopes that in the next World Blood Donor Day, there would be more volunteer donors to fill the need of patients who depend on lifesaving blood.

Like their slogan goes, “Give freely, give often. Blood donation matters.”

The Trans Battle: Blood Donation vs. Transgender in the US

Blood is as important as water, especially to patients who depend on each donated blood to save their lives. While it is not a forgotten act of kindness, some parts of the world still suffer from blood supply shortage— a matter that should not be taken lightly.

This scarcity in blood supply can be solved by having more eligible blood donors. That way, there would be no shortage in the blood stock, and more patients will get what they need in no time. This is, actually, pretty easy to achieve— if only homosexuals are allowed to donate blood.

Unfortunately, they are not.

Some members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community are questioned at every blood donation center because of their sexual orientation and their possible connection with the dangerous human immunodeficiency virus or HIV. Gay men who have sexual intercourse with other men (MSM)— and most recently, transgender women (men who physically transitioned to women)— are permanently deferred to donate blood, as per the rule of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since the early 1980s.

Come to think of it… gay men and transgender people can actually contribute to the increase in blood supply, right? But why are they deferred in the first place? And is there any chance for them to donate blood and end the blood shortage forever?

 

REJECTION STORIES

In the United States alone, there have been several cases of transgender women being denied their right to donate blood. Here are three different people from different states, but with the same story of rejection and, as they think about it, discrimination:

Lisa Scott

A woman in Minneapolis, Minnesota was reportedly told outright by a blood donation center nurse that she cannot donate plasma simply because of her sexual orientation. “You people can’t give plasma,” the nurse allegedly said.

Officially a transgender woman since her gender reassessment surgery in 2006, Lisa Scott filed a lawsuit against CSL Plasma, the center which denied her the right to give plasma. Given her new gender, Scott was disqualified by CSL because she was a “transwoman,” even without further testing.

However, in the defense of the center, a representative of CSL Plasma stated that it is in their policy to forbid any transgender person from donating plasma, even if there are no federals laws that actually prohibit transsexuals from performing plasma donation.

Anyway, Scott is still pushing for legal fee payments and damages in excess of $75,000. She is also determined to require the center to abolish their transsexual policy and erase the discrimination against people like her.

Jasmine Kaiser

Another transgender women shunned away by CSL Plasma, this time in Kent, Washington.

Jasmine Kaiser was reportedly discriminated at CSL Plasma after she attempted to donate plasma for cash. She was banned from donating plasma because her gender was “male at birth.” After this incident, CSL personnel told her that she would be put on a “permanent deferral list” and that they would inform other blood donation centers about her case.

Now, the center faces a lawsuit for discrimination, just like in Scott’s case. Given that both centers are under the same firm (CSL), this one which banned Kaiser also defends their action, saying that their blood donation center “operates its business in accordance with all applicable industry, state, federal, and international laws, regulations, guidelines, and guidance documents.”

Briana Reynolds

Briana Reynolds has been a loyal plasma donor at BioLife Plasma Services since 2009. Back then, she had no problem donating lifesaving plasma as a male, and doing so kept her life stable financially.

However, when she began her transition to a woman in 2013, her usual routine at BioLife changed for the worst.

Ever since she became a transgender woman, Reynolds has been banned from donating plasma at BioLife, in accordance with their rules about male-to-female transgender people and plasma donation. According to the center, the FDA does not approve of the hormones she has been taking since her transition, so she cannot donate plasma because of that. Even if she is willing to change hormones, the center still would not budge.

Reynolds, who is a virgin, is under harsh discrimination just because of her sexual orientation. Like Scott and Kaiser, she has not been subjected to any physical examinations and screenings before being denied of the opportunity to donate. Instead, they were told outright that they simply cannot do so.

 

WHAT ARE THE RULES, ANYWAY?

Since the HIV epidemic in the late 1970s, the FDA has always been firm about its policy about MSM and blood donation. According to them, any men who have had sex with men since 1977 (even once) are permanently deferred to donate blood. However, even if there are recent advancements in this field, gay men and transgender women are still unfit to donate blood.

Why?

Male homosexuals and transgender women are, in general, considered to be having regular sexual intercourse with people of the same gender. With this notion in mind, they are feared to be carrying HIV, which can be transmitted once they donate blood. So, if the policy about abolishing the permanent deferral in gay men is passed, MSM are still subject to one-year deferral.

For the LGBT community, this is quite insulting and does not change anything. For transgender women, it is much worse.

Blood donation centers such as BioLife Plasma Services, CSL Plasma, New York Blood Center, Blood Centers of the Pacific, and even the American Red Cross, prohibit MSM from donating blood. In general, this includes transgender women. The hormones that they are taking are actually not an issue, just as long as it is HRT, or hormone replacement therapy. The American Red Cross clearly states that “women on hormone replacement therapy… are eligible to donate.”

 

BOTTOMLINE

Almost all blood donation centers in the United States prevent MSM and, sadly, transgender women to donate blood or plasma. Nothing can be done about it, really, because it is in accordance with the FDA policy.

But, there is a silver lining in this dark tunnel of discrimination. As days pass by, more people are voicing their opinions out in favor of the LGBT community, so who knows what might happen? With the advancements in the field of science and health, the permanent deferral— even the one-year deferral— imposed on homosexuals can be eliminated soon.

For now, these are the rules, though. We can only hope for the best.

World Blood Donor Day 2015: The 5Ws Edition

Every year, people across the globe celebrate various occasions, some of which are solely dedicated to a specific person.

For example, Father’s Day for dads, Mother’s Day for moms, Grandparents Day for our loving grandpa and grandma, Teacher’s Day for the educators of the world, and there is even a Siblings Day dedicated to our sisters and brothers.

There are also occasions that focus on events or awareness, such as Labor Day, Independence Day, Earth Day, No Tobacco Day, AIDS Day, Malaria Day, and many more.

Of course, let us not forget that special day when blood donors and the campaign for blood donation are celebrated— and encouraged.

 

WHAT: WORLD BLOOD DONOR DAY

As heroes of the world, blood donors truly deserve a special day dedicated for them and the lifesaving deed they do. Fortunately, this certain day has been going on for years.

The World Blood Donor Day, or WBDD for short, was established in 2004 by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is one of the eight health campaigns of the organization, alongside World Tuberculosis Day, World Health Day, World Immunization Week, World Malaria Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Hepatitis Day, and World AIDS Day.

The World Blood Donor Day was created to raise people’s awareness about the international blood supply status, as well as give thanks to those kind, compassionate, and unpaid (but happy) people who donate blood willingly, wholeheartedly, and continuously. This is the day when all of their efforts and painful (but fulfilling) blood donation stints are rewarded with one of the most satisfying form of recognition: gratitude.

Theme for 2015: Thank You For Saving My Life

Since its inception eleven years ago, the organization has created many successful and meaningful themes to go with the World Blood Donor Day. Following 2012’s “Every Blood Donor Is A Hero,” 2013’s “Give The Gift Of Life,” and last year’s “Safe Blood For Saving Mothers,” the WHO now brings us this year’s theme: “Thank You For Saving My Life.”

The theme for this year straightly aims at those who never fail to give blood and help patients regain their life and their will to live. Reading from the theme’s title, this year’s World Blood Donor Day is directly for— you guessed it— blood donors.

However, this year’s celebration is not only focused on giving blood donors the biggest and greatest of thanks. The upcoming World Blood Donor Day also serves to encourage more potential donors to participate in blood donation, even on ordinary days. Furthermore, one of the campaign’s agenda this year is to share stories of people who have been actually saved by donated blood. In a way, this kind of storytelling will convince and inspire more people to do the good deed, which is donating blood.

 

WHEN: JUNE 14, 2015

Since the WHO created the World Blood Donor Day, the date of this event has always been on the 14th of June.

You may be quite curious: what is with that exact date?

Aside from recognizing blood donors and raising awareness about blood donation, the World Blood Donor Day also commemorates the birthday of Austrian physician and biologist Karl Landsteiner, who is considered by many as the founder of modern blood transfusion.

This year, nothing changes— on Sunday, June 14, 2015, blood donors will be honored, patients will share their heartwarming “donor-to-patient” stories, and the campaign to a better blood donation worldwide will be encouraged.

 

WHO: EVERYONE

Yes, each and every one of us is invited to join the campaign and save lives. Being eligible to donate is a major requirement, but it is easy to achieve as long as you are living healthy.

For more information on how to determine if you are allowed to donate blood or not, visit the American Red Cross website.

 

WHERE: ALL OVER THE WORLD

The celebration itself does not have the “world” word in it for nothing. Wherever you may be— whether it is on the far end of the world or near the civilization, you are invited to take part in this momentous event.

Be a hero by donating blood in any blood donation centers near you!

 

WHY: ONE DEED, MANY LIVES SAVED

Donating blood is a very noble cause. It is truly one of the greatest gifts you could ever give to your fellow countrymen, especially those in the hospitals who are depending on blood to save their lives.

Joining this year’s World Blood Donor Day would mean a lot, not only to existing blood donors (because new donors are always good news to the community— more donors would mean more lives could be saved), but, most especially, to the patients who will benefit from the blood that you will donate. Why hold back when you can help save three lives with just one donation?

 

BLOODBANKER AND THE WORLD BLOOD DONOR DAY

Always in the spirit of blood-giving, Bloodbanker— the leading website when it comes to blood bank directory and related news/articles— is here to assist you on your donation how-tos!

If you are currently living or staying in the United States, do not fret on World Blood Donor Day, because Bloodbanker’s up-to-date blood bank directory is present to make your hunt for the nearest blood donation center easier, less time-consuming, and definitely convenient!

For easy navigation, simply go to our Bloodbanker directory and choose from our three center-selecting options: type the name of a specific blood donation center, choose your state (US or Canada), or select from the list of companies provided in the page.

We always have your back, Jack— Bloodbanker’s directory is complete in all cities and states, and we strive for accurate and updated information all the time. So, you have nothing to worry about, because here at Bloodbanker, we have got you covered.

For more information on how you can contribute to this year’s World Blood Donor Day, please visit the World Health Organization’s website. To familiarize yourself with the whole process of blood donation (as well as the joy of giving blood), feel free to browse any of the articles in Bloodbanker’s Plasma Blog.

Cord Blood vs. Type 1 Diabetes: The Fight Is On

The human blood is, probably, one of the greatest gifts we can give to other people— or even to ourselves. It helps our body to function normally, and for patients, blood is the safety rope that they hold on to for their dear life. Some medicines may come and go, but blood supplies (as long as there are willing blood donors and ongoing blood donations) will always be there.

Speaking of blood, an umbilical cord— which is clamped and cut after birth— is packed with nutritious blood and placenta that can also help millions of patients in need. Over the years, stored cord blood has been used for scientific researches that have been proven to have significant contribution to the medical field. For example, stem cells from cord blood have been tested and converted into nerve cells, which is a groundbreaking event not only for researchers, but also for people who will need it in the future.

Unfortunately, some umbilical cords are being disposed of after birth, with all the nutrients and important placenta being thrown away with it.

Fortunately, there is a new discovery from the field of science that may change mothers’ minds about throwing their umbilical cord away after birth.

 

ISLA AND THE DIABETES FIGHT

On May 27, Isla Robinson, a four-year old Australian girl, made scientific history by becoming the very first person in the whole world to be injected with her own cord blood for the prevention of her own illness— specifically type 1 diabetes.

Little Isla, whose body has been detected to have more than two antibodies that could increase her chance of developing type 1 diabetes, is one of the 20 children (and, actually, the first) who are scheduled to undergo cord blood transfusion in Australia. This is for a study led by Associate Professor Maria Craig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Children’s Hospital in Westmead, Sydney, and sponsored by Cell Care, the country’s largest cord blood bank.

Isla’s mother, Rachel Weldon, decided to bank the child’s cord blood in Cell Care in 2011, which has proven the decision to be a good idea four years later. “It just seemed like a good insurance policy, I suppose,” she said.

After Isla’s siblings were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, with her sister Ruby being the latest, she has been taking tests every six months for the past three years. After having three harmful antibodies, she was subject to transfusion of her own cord blood, in the hopes of preventing or delaying the disease from developing inside her body.

“All the studies suggest she will actually develop it one day, so if we can stop that it would be fantastic,” Craig said. “I’m hoping we can completely switch off that autoimmune process and she will never get it.”

The study is still ongoing, and with the 19 other patients who will undergo cord blood transfusion, there is still hope that this fascinating procedure would eventually work.

 

INSIDE THE INFUSION

So, how does this new medical study actually work?

In a formal sense, the procedure has two phases: the screening phase and the treatment phase.

First Phase: Screening

For the first part, participants (or the 20 young patients selected out of the 600 Australian children with cord blood banked in Cell Care, the sponsor of the study) will be tested for Insulin, GAD, ZnT8 and IA2 autoantibodies. The medical team, led by Craig, will also measure their random glucose and hemoglobin A1c levels.

If, unfortunately, two or more antibodies to islet antigens are detected, then the patient will proceed to the treatment phase.

Why?

The reason for this is because the presence of more than one antibody could mean a higher risk of type 1 diabetes development, so the patient will need further examination if ever this case occurs.

Second Phase: Treatment

The next phase of the study involves a more in-depth treatment.

For the second part, patients will be getting single intravenous infusion of autologous cord blood, which contains >5 x 106 total nucleated cells per kilograms recipient body weight. This cord blood will be infused to the patient for about one hour.

If negative antibodies are detected, then the patient will be subject to repeat screening in a course of 12 months.

Isla’s Phases

In Isla’s case, the donated cord blood from her umbilical cord four years ago underwent various steps before being re-infused inside her body.

Cryoprotective agents have been added to her cord blood for storage purposes, and then on the day of the transfusion, it was defrosted, washed, and diluted.

The re-infusion took about half an hour, and for safety reasons, Isla was given a mild antihistamine and antibiotics before the transfusion.

 

BYE-BYE DIABETES?

This is a great advancement in the field of health and medicine, but according to Craig, it is possible that cord blood is not really the cure to type 1 diabetes.

For example, in Isla’s case, the cord blood treatment may not be the permanent cure for her possible type 1 diabetes. Instead, the high amount of T-cells (or Tregs, a kind of immune cells) in the blood could only delay the time when she actually develops the illness.

“It could be many years while it dampens down her immune response,” Craig stated.

However, she expressed that the delay in Isla’s development of type 1 diabetes would be a fine opportunity for them to try more effective studies and experiments.

“Even if it could delay it to adolescence, until she is older, that would be fantastic because that also buys us time for other therapies that are being developed,” she said.

 

HOPE FOR DIABETIC KIDS

The cord blood, which is proven to be abundant in immune cells and other vital nutrients, is believed to help children with possible type 1 diabetes (like Isla). These cells can possibly reboot their immune system and completely prevent the disease from landing in their body forever.

Branches of this study are still ongoing around the world. For example, in Bavaria, Germany, children with T1D are being re-infused of their own cord blood to test if insulin-producing cells in the pancreas can be regenerated. The research team which is in-charge for this is also studying the effects of cord blood in metabolism change and immune function, which leads to islet regeneration.

Little by little, the silver lining for people— especially children— with T1D is now showing itself for the whole world to see and feel.