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Paying it forward one pint at a time

Ark City Presbyterian Manor’s first blood drive started as an act of compassion for another staff member.

“We had a staff member who had an accident and required several blood transfusions during their time of hospitalization. That’s what gave me the idea of having the drive here – a pay it forward type of thing,” said Chris Armstrong, MDS coordinator and RN case manager.

That was four years ago. Today, the campus hosts two blood drives a year – one in March and another in September – and they’re both coordinated by Chris who works with the Red Cross to get everything set up for the day. The idea of helping others continues to motivate her in this role.

“Years ago, I worked as an industrial occupational health nurse in Cowley County, that’s how I got familiar with blood drives. It’s so satisfying to know you can get people to donate to this cause and save lives. It’s a nurse thing—wanting to help others and save lives is always a good thing,” said Chris.

To help reward others for doing good, incentives are offered to those who donate.

“We have reward cards called ‘star bucks’ you can save up and get prizes like Wal-Mart gift cards or a day off with pay. I get a special blood drive star buck that I can give to people who donate. And sometimes we have door prizes,” said Chris.

For the most part, getting employees and people from the community to donate blood hasn’t been an issue.

“We have a core group of people who always donate so I can pretty much always count on them. The Red Cross always sets a goal depending on how many appointments you have available. Most of the time we meet and exceed our goal. We typically have 15 appointments available a day, which doesn’t seem like much, but if we can get all 15 units of blood, that’s a lot!” said Chris.

The next blood drive at the Presbyterian Manor will be March 26. Interested in donating? Take Chris’ advice: “It’s always good to contact me three or four weeks in advance to get an appointment scheduled so we don’t run out.”

PHOTO: Chris Armstrong gives blood during one of Presbyterian Manor’s blood drives.

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