St. Luke's donates $150,000 to Red Cross of Idaho for new Bloodmobile

Posted at 4:58 AM, Nov 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-26 06:58:15-05

BOISE, Idaho — St. Luke’s Health System has given the Red Cross of Greater Idaho a $150,000 gift to help the humanitarian organization replace its aging bloodmobile.

Bloodmobiles are specially designed vehicles, equipped with beds and other supplies needed to collect blood from donors near their workplaces, homes and schools. Idaho’s only Red Cross bloodmobile is 15 years old and has traveled more than 200,000 miles across the state. The typical bloodmobile collects 29,000 units of lifesaving blood in its lifetime, but the Idaho vehicle has collected that amount in just the last five years and maintaining it is costly.

St. Luke’s has a long history of working closely with the Red Cross. In addition to using Red Cross blood products to treat its patients, St. Luke’s hosts several blood drives each year and supports the Red Cross Sound the Alarm Home Fire Campaign.

“St. Luke’s is fortunate to have an outstanding community partner in the Red Cross,” said Dr. Barton Hill, vice president and chief quality officer and associate chief medical officer at St. Luke’s. “St. Luke’s has donated more than 2,000 units of blood from Red Cross blood drives over the last several years, and that blood helps all local hospitals save lives nearly every day.

“We are thrilled to provide support for a new bloodmobile that will serve people locally and across our region for many years to come. Together, St. Luke’s and the Red Cross are making a meaningful difference for the people in our communities.”

The Idaho Red Cross collects more than 62,000 units of blood each year, about 80 percent of which comes from mobile drives. The Idaho bloodmobile plays an important role, collecting blood in many of Idaho’s rural communities and at businesses that may not have the space necessary to host an on-site drive.

These blood products are then distributed to hospitals and medical centers across the state where they’re used to help cancer patients, trauma victims, premature infants and those undergoing surgery.

A new model will offer better climate control, be more fuel efficient and will allow Red Cross staff to collect more units at one time. It will also help Red Cross expand its collection territory.

“We would like to thank St. Luke’s for this extremely meaningful gift and for all they do to support our community,” said Nicole Sirak Irwin, regional CEO of the Red Cross of Idaho and Montana. “Their generosity will allow us to replace the backbone of our blood services fleet so we can continue collecting the lifesaving blood that so many of our neighbors here in Idaho count on every day.”

Together with a $40,000 donation from the Julius C. Jeker Foundation and $20,000 in Idaho Red Cross board contributions, the St. Luke’s gift moves the Red Cross closer to ordering the much-needed vehicle. With $65,000 remaining in the campaign, Idaho Red Cross is optimistic it can order a new bloodmobile by Christmas.