Written by Al Stover
Inside First Lutheran Church in Wolf Point, patients lie in a chair before phlebotomists begin the procedure.
Wolf Point citizens donate for the blood drive, Aug. 7. The church is working with the American Red Cross, which comes to Wolf Point five times a year for blood drive.
The blood collected is tested for diseases such as Hepatitis B and C and HIV. Blood that does not test positive for these diseases will be given to patients, as well as used for medical research.
Prior to the procedure, phlebotomist Leanne Hedstrom said prospective donors will read a pamphlet to determine if they are candidates to give blood. They will be asked questions about their health history to determine whether or not they are healthy enough to donate. The whole process, including the blood drawing, takes up to 30 minutes.
Hedstrom said every phlebotomist who works with donors at the blood drive has been trained by the American Red Cross.
Dave Wall, who grew up in Wolf Point, has been a phlebotomist for three years. He said he fell into the profession because he needed a job and it related to his major of microbiology, which he studied at Montana State University.
Wall said he likes to work the blood drive in Wolf Point because it gives him a chance to see his parents. He also likes traveling to different towns and meeting people.
Leslie Regan has been a phlebotomist for five months. This is her first time doing the blood drive in Wolf Point. She said the donors were all happy and good people.
Lois Dyck has been donating blood for what she said was “a long time.” She said she does it for the community.
“I have a heart for the wounded warriors who need it,” Dyck said.
Laurie Evans of Wolf Point has been donating blood for several years. Although she had fallen out of donating, she began after her mother had back surgery and needed a blood transfusion.
[After the transfusion], it changed her complexion, Evans said. “It makes a difference.”
According to Evans, the American Red Cross has implemented a system where they email donors and tell them where their blood went and who received it.
Cecilia Parker, a recent Wolf Point High School graduate, donated blood for the second time. Although she was light-headed during the procedure, which she said was a result of her walking to the church, the medical personnel were quick to make it okay.
a Donors must be 18 years old, 16-year-olds can donate if their parents fill out a consent form.
aRepeat donors can donate every 56 days.