ASBP gets help from The Force for blood drive

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ian Christner and Senior Airman Allen Turner, both 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron heavy equipment operators, pose with a Star Wars themed blood donor shirt during an Armed Services Blood Program blood drive in the Brick House at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, May 10, 2017. The ASBP is the official blood collection, manufacturing and transfusion program for the U.S. military.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ian Christner and Senior Airman Allen Turner, both 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron heavy equipment operators, pose with a Star Wars themed blood donor shirt during an Armed Services Blood Program blood drive in the Brick House at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, May 10, 2017. The ASBP is the official blood collection, manufacturing and transfusion program for the U.S. military.

The Armed Services Blood Program Europe hosts a blood drive in the Brick House at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, May 10, 2017. Blood collected at the drive benefit members within the military including patients with cancer, traumatic injuries, battlefield injuries, undergoing surgical procedures and others seeking help at military medical treatment facilities.

The Armed Services Blood Program Europe hosts a blood drive in the Brick House at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, May 10, 2017. Blood collected at the drive benefit members within the military including patients with cancer, traumatic injuries, battlefield injuries, undergoing surgical procedures and others seeking help at military medical treatment facilities.

Jessica Behrens, a military spouse, donates blood during an Armed Services Blood Program blood drive in the Brick House at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, May 10, 2017. The ASBP Europe hosted the drive to distribute blood to patients within the military to include service members, their families, Department of Defense civilians and retirees.

Jessica Behrens, a military spouse, donates blood during an Armed Services Blood Program blood drive in the Brick House at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, May 10, 2017. The ASBP Europe hosted the drive to distribute blood to patients within the military to include service members, their families, Department of Defense civilians and retirees.

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Tameka Coates, 52nd Medical Support Squadron Superintendent, greets a blood donor during an Armed Services Blood Program blood drive in the Brick House at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, May 10, 2017. The ASBP Europe makes regularly scheduled visits to military bases throughout the continent to collect blood to redistribute to service members and their families in need.

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Tameka Coates, 52nd Medical Support Squadron Superintendent, greets a blood donor during an Armed Services Blood Program blood drive in the Brick House at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, May 10, 2017. The ASBP Europe makes regularly scheduled visits to military bases throughout the continent to collect blood to redistribute to service members and their families in need.

Pamela Hudson, Armed Services Blood Program Europe phlebotomist, processes donor’s blood during a blood drive in the Brick House at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, May 10, 2017. A scheduled blood drive takes place at Spangdahlem Air Base approximately every 56 days, allowing a constant replenished stock of blood for patients in need.

Pamela Hudson, Armed Services Blood Program Europe phlebotomist, processes donor’s blood during a blood drive in the Brick House at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, May 10, 2017. A scheduled blood drive takes place at Spangdahlem Air Base approximately every 56 days, allowing a constant replenished stock of blood for patients in need.

Stacked boxes, labeled “Human Blood,” sit next to the blood processing station during an Armed Services Blood Program blood drive in the Brick House at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, May 10, 2017. Since the ASBP’s inception more than 60 years ago, more than 1.5 million units of blood have been provided to treat battlefield illnesses and injuries.

Stacked boxes, labeled “Human Blood,” sit next to the blood processing station during an Armed Services Blood Program blood drive in the Brick House at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, May 10, 2017. Since the ASBP’s inception more than 60 years ago, more than 1.5 million units of blood have been provided to treat battlefield illnesses and injuries.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Allen Turner, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron heavy equipment operator, donates blood during an Armed Services Blood Program blood drive in the Brick House at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, May 10, 2017. The ASBP supplies blood and blood products for 1.3 million service members and their families across the nation and around the globe every year.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Allen Turner, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron heavy equipment operator, donates blood during an Armed Services Blood Program blood drive in the Brick House at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, May 10, 2017. The ASBP supplies blood and blood products for 1.3 million service members and their families across the nation and around the globe every year.

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- The Armed Services Blood Program Europe hosted a Star Wars themed blood drive at the Brick House here, May 10, 2017.

Participants from ASBP, Spangdahlem Red Cross and the 52nd Medical Support Squadron assisted in collecting donor’s blood that directly supports military service members and their families in need worldwide.

Donors watched portions of the Star Wars series while they were screened by members of the ASBP team to ensure 100 percent eligibility to give blood.

“I think the Star Wars theme helps get people excited about donating blood,” said Alex McCormick, blood donor and son of Senior Master Sgt. Michael McCormick, 726th Air Mobility Squadron maintenance superintendent. “It’s a great distraction for the person getting their blood taken.”

Fortunately, donors don’t have to wonder what galaxy the blood they donate is going to.

“All of the blood we collect from the military stays within the military,” said Colleen Urban, ASBP Europe blood recruiter. “It’s used to treat service members, their families, Department of Defense civilians and retirees.”

Members within the military who benefit from the blood donated include patients with cancer, traumatic injuries, battlefield injuries, undergoing surgical procedures and others seeking help at a military medical treatment facility.

“It’s nice to know where my blood goes,” McCormick said. “But, at the end of the day I know it’s going to someone who needs that pint of blood more than I do.”

Urban said unfortunately, blood is a perishable product, only lasting 42 days.

“It is very difficult to collect blood in Europe because of the rules and restrictions on blood donations regulated by the Food and Drug Administration,” Urban said. “One restriction limits donating blood if you have lived in certain countries in Europe for more than five years; Germany being one of them.”

However, Urban said the rules are in place to have a safe supply of blood.

Currently, a scheduled blood drive takes place at Spangdahlem approximately every 56 days, allowing a constant replenished stock of blood for patients in need. Also, 56 days is the least amount of time a donor can wait before their next donation.

Urban said she encourages everyone to donate, or to help encourage others if they are ineligible.

“The blood we collect goes downrange, but it also stays within the local military community,” Urban said. “You never know when you or a loved one may need it.”

 

Mark your calendars for these upcoming Spangdahlem blood drives:

July 12, 2017

Sept. 6, 2017

Nov. 1, 2017

Jan. 3, 2018