By Nita Kelly/American Red Cross
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. For patients in need of lifesaving blood and blood products, the generosity of volunteer blood donors and the work of our Biomedical Services team play a critical role in our nation’s health care system. To meet the needs of patients, last year the Red Cross collected more than 4.5 million units of blood from nearly 2.6 million volunteer donors. These donations were then processed into approximately 6.4 million blood products for transfusion to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,500 hospitals across the country.
All of this would not be possible without dedicated laboratory and manufacturing professionals who allow us to offer a variety of services to our hospital partners and cell and gene therapy partners. This Laboratory Professionals Week, April 23-29 we celebrate and highlight Los Angeles team members who play a vital role in our mission.
“We’re all in it for the same reason...It makes us happy knowing that we’re part of saving a life. It helps in motivating us all.”
Leticia Magana had not envisioned her decade long tenure with the Red Cross when she first joined the organization in 2006. A native Californian, Leticia had move to Arizona in 2006 and found a role in blood collections where she performed venipunctures and provided direct assistance to blood donors. Within this role, the hands-on nature of collections allowed for her to “meet so many different people,” and provided “lots of professional growth, especially as I worked with such diverse groups of people,” shared Magana.
Thirteen years later in 2019, Magana found herself moving back to her home state of California. Experiencing the many changes brought on by a move, one thing remained constant. Magana stayed with the Red Cross. She transitioned positions and became a lab technician, allowing her to see “the other end of the process” after working in blood collections. Her role of lab technician works better with her changing lifestyle; the work requires less travel and has a set schedule. Having experienced moves in between states and shifting roles, Magana finds that the Red Cross work environment remains similar. “We’re all in it for the same reason,” said Magana. “It makes us happy knowing that we’re part of saving a life. It helps in motivating us all.”
“Wherever you are, it’s part of the journey. Anyone working at the Red Cross is working toward one united goal"
Eric Arcaina was hired in 2011 as a technician, but that wasn’t his first encounter with the Red Cross. A family friend initially recommended the organization to Arcaina while he was a college student, leading to him becoming a volunteer. After graduating college, his volunteering evolved into a more active role within the organization. A freshly graduated college student, the Red Cross afforded him many opportunities and he found comfort in the people he was working with. Arcaina ultimately transitioned into a role as a technician in 2011 before becoming a manufacturing supervisor focusing on second-stage cryo around a year ago.
The workplace environment, for Arcaina, allows for impactful professional development. “Many people have been there for more than 30 years,” said Arcaina. “There’s something magical about that.”
Adding to that magical environment are the close friends and family that work alongside him. Arcaina’s mother works as a medical director, while his fiancée recently began working in the same building. Though they are in different departments, the rarity of such a situation does not escape Arcaina’s awareness. Arcaina’s journey with the Red Cross has left him with lifelong lessons. “Wherever you are, it’s part of the journey. Anyone working at the Red Cross is working toward one united goal,” said Arcaina.
Between Magana and Arcaina, there’s a shared sense of unity that comes with working within the Red Cross. “We’re all in it for the same reason,” Magana states. “It makes you feel good knowing that you’re part of saving lives; It makes you proud.”
How you can help:
Blood donations to the Red Cross help ensure new moms, premature babies, cancer patients and accident victims have access to safe, lifesaving blood. Schedule an appointment to donate blood today by visiting redcrossblood.org.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
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