January is National Blood Donor Month, When Donations are Needed Most

DonateBlood-LaneBloodCenter-HopValley-2015Did you know that blood donations are only usable for a short period of time? Red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days, so blood centers have a constant need for blood donations. (Platelets need to be used within five days, and plasma can be frozen for up to a year).

With a short time to use blood donations, blood centers need a consistent flow (pardon the bad pun!) of donations to secure a safe supply throughout the year. And year after year, January is the month when blood centers have the least amount of blood on-hand.

The reasons? Leading into the month of January, people are celebrating the holidays, and finding time to donate blood becomes difficult. When the month of January arrives, folks get sick and the weather gets worse, causing people to miss their scheduled appointments and donation events to be canceled. Because of this, January was declared National Blood Donor Month, and local and national blood centers strongly urge people to schedule an appointment or drop on in to a donation event.

Donating blood doesn’t cost anything, takes little time (around an hour), and can make a great difference in someone’s life—including saving one! Also, donors are not left empty handed. After each donation, donors receive:

  • A lollypop, a cookie, and a glass of juice
  • Time to spend with family and friends (don’t go alone, ask a loved one to join)
  • A momentary pinching feeling in your arm (not so much a benefit, unless you think you are dreaming!)
  • The opportunity to prove that you are not a wimp when you see a needle
  • Information about your blood, including fourteen tests, 11 for infectious diseases
  • The fantastic feeling of helping others

So, if you are part of the 38 percent of Americans who are eligible to donate blood, seriously consider this time of year to schedule an appointment, or head to your local blood center and donate! Visit a link to find a center or event near you:

And, to those who have and will give blood, thank you!


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PacificSource Recognized on National Philanthropy Day

At PacificSource, healthcare goes far beyond providing insurance.  We also believe in providing programs that help people stay well so they can live well.  We believe in providing financial and volunteer support for local charities that improve the quality of life in the communities we serve.

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November 15th is National Philanthropy Day and PacificSource Health Plans has been recognized by the Idaho Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professional (AFP) for all of the great work we are doing in Idaho and throughout the Oregon and Montana Enterprise.  On November 12, PacificSource received the award for Outstanding Corporation – Large at the annual breakfast put on by AFP Idaho.

Whether it is through the PacificSource Foundation for Health Improvement, companywide fundraising campaigns for the United Way and March of Dimes, or regional fundraising and volunteer opportunities for our charities of choice, PacificSource and all of our employees are honored to receive this award.  We pledge to continue our tradition of improving the quality of life in the communities we serve.

A Day with United Way’s Days of Caring

It’s pretty difficult to simplify all the work United Way does, but to break it down in a nutshell, they have three primary objectives in the communities they serve: improving education, helping people achieve financial stability, and promoting healthy lives. If you’ve already checked out MillionIdeas.org, you know that promoting healthy lifestyles is right in our wheelhouse, and that shared goal is why we have so much respect for the work United Way does.

What’s really awesome about United Way is the fact that they let community volunteers roll up their sleeves and really get involved with the work United Way is doing. They take donations of all kind, including time and labor. In Eugene/Springfield, we had a crew of PacificSource employees join the hundreds of other volunteers in for the Lane County Days of Caring . One of our volunteers, Sara, documented her experience at Days of Caring to give an idea of just how rewarding and impactful the day was. Here’s her tale:  

“The idea behind Days of Caring is to unite a community to work on projects that non-profit organizations need accomplished, but don’t have the resources to complete them on their own. Without the help of volunteers, many of these vital projects would not get done – but, on this one day, through thousands of volunteer hours (and hard work), great things got accomplished!

We had two teams take part in the event, a morning team and an afternoon team. The morning team worked at the Greenhill Humane Society to give the landscape a much needed make-over.  Our team got down and dirty filling a dumpster with yard trimmings and debris in an effort to make the facility shine! 

The afternoon team helped at the Food for Lane County’s Churchill Garden. Since eating healthy foods usually carries a higher price tag, this garden helps out by growing organic vegetables that are then distributed to families in need. Not to be outdone in the “dirty” department, this group tackled weeding, composting, and even tackled some harvesting.

I love the way we all worked together to achieve a common good. It always feels good to volunteer, and that feeling is multiplied when a group gets together and accomplishes so much more than one person could do alone. It was a wonderful day, and we’re thankful that we could take part with United Way.”

A huge thank you to United Way for being such an innovative non-profit. And, thanks to all the other volunteers that chipped in last week. If you took part in any Days of Caring events, what did you do? We’d love to hear more volunteer stories!

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