Firefighters from the Vernon Fire Department came to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles last week to spread holiday cheer by dropping off a truckload of toys and, most importantly, donating blood at the hospital’s Blood Donor Center.
The blood donation comes at an important time; the hospital’s blood inventory is currently significantly lower than optimal numbers due to a consistent drop in donations during the holiday season.
John Vittorio was one of the firefighters who answered the call for blood. He had just spent 11 days fighting the Thomas Fire, and he chose to come in to the hospital while off-duty to give back.
“Giving back to the community is so important, no matter how busy you are. Giving blood can save lives, and that’s better than any present you can buy,” Vittorio said.
A dedicated hospital partner since 2008, the Vernon Fire Department holds two blood drives every year, collecting around 200 units of blood annually for the hospital.
“We are so thankful to the heroes of the Vernon Fire Department. Not only are they putting their lives on the line to fight the wildfires that are ravaging Southern California, but they’re also giving the gift of life to our patients here at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles,” Ajay Perumbeti, director of transfusion medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “Blood donations always drop around the holidays, but our patients require blood year-round. We strongly encourage members of our community to please make an appointment with us to donate during the Christmas and New Year weeks.”
The hospital’s goal is to attract 45 donors each day during the two holiday weeks to replenish its blood and platelet supply. On average, its patients need 2,000 units of blood and blood components each month as part of the life-saving care the hospital provides.
Donors need to be 17 years of age or older (photo ID required) and weigh at least 110 pounds. They must also meet criteria for recent travel.
To schedule an appointment, call (323)361-2441 or visit chladonateblood.org. During the holiday weeks, the Blood Donor Center is open Tuesday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
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