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WSP Employee Recounts Importance of Donating Blood
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WSP Employee Recounts Importance of Donating Blood

For over 50 years, January has been declared National Blood Donor Month.  Last year, the American Red Cross issued its first-ever national blood crisis due to a severe blood shortage. Washington State is feeling the same effect, with blood donation centers across the state declaring their own shortages.

Recently, Washington State Patrol (WSP) Assistant Chief Scott McCoy made his way to a local center to donate blood.  He is one of many WSP employees who donate blood.  Jennifer, a safety officer in our Human Resource Division, proudly supports and encourages others to donate blood.

“Blood donation has been a very important part of my life,” Jennifer said. Jennifer was hit by a truck at just 9-years-old while walking to her babysitter’s house.

“Normally we would have crossed at the light in front of the school; however, on this day my friends and I were goofing around after school and by the time we headed home, we were more rushed than normal and decided to cross at the crosswalk in front of the little market down the road,” Jennifer said.

 As soon as Jennifer stepped out to cross, someone yelled her name.  As she turned to look, she saw the truck, but it was too late.

“The truck’s tire caught my foot under it while it was braking and I was dragged about 15 feet,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer’s recovery journey had just started.  While in an Olympia area hospital, she was told she would never be able to walk again.  She was then transferred to a hospital in Seattle for further treatment where doctors discovered she had internal bleeding.  She was rushed into emergency surgery and received multiple blood transfusions.  After nine surgeries and three weeks in the hospital, Jennifer was able to finally go home.

She did gain the ability to walk again and has been able to live a normal life. 

When she got into college, the first couple of years were spent trying to figure out what she wanted to do and study.

“I began looking at the classes I enjoyed and those were always health related,” Jennifer said. “I ended up graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Community Health.” 

Her injuries sparked her passion for blood donation and paved the way for what would eventually be a career.

After college, she started her professional career at a blood donation center where she was a technician.  After six years, she started her career with the WSP.  Although she doesn’t work at a blood donation center anymore, she’s still actively involved.

“My WSP position still falls along the lines of community health and has allowed me to be on the other side of donation as an onsite donor representative,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer coordinates with blood donation centers across the state for blood drives and events. To date, Jennifer has donated blood over 53 times and donated platelets 15 times… and counting!

“It is so important to donate! If someone else had not donated back in 1983, I wouldn’t be here,” Jennifer said. “I have a rare blood type, so it is even more important for me to donate.”

Jennifer is one of many who have received blood transfusions.  Our troopers respond to multiple serious injury collisions a year- we see and understand the need for blood and blood donors.  We encourage those who are able to donate. 

Many donation center websites list the eligibility criteria for blood donation, and within the past few months, people who were once ineligible to donate because of vCJD (mad cow disease) concerns, can now donate.

No matter what your blood type is, you can make a difference.  Check out a center near you.

Jennifer and her daughter after one of many donations!

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