SES Knights of Columbus Hold Blood Drive

By Dick Milanese

Prepare for next one on October 15, 2023

On April 30, 2023, St. Elizabeth Seton Parish held its first Blood Drive. The Knights of Columbus managed the drive working with Vitalant (formerly United Blood Services). There were 40 parishioners who signed up to donate and they gave a total of 32 units of blood.

Vitalant is the primary source of blood donations in Arizona and services over 90% of the hospitals in the state and 100% of the hospitals in Maricopa County. They provide 600 units of blood each day and their need for donations is great.

The Blood Drive process is a month-long effort, beginning with the coordination between the parish and Vitalant. Then a table must be staffed in the patio area the weekend before the drive to sign up donors, and finally the actual blood donations take place in the parish hall. Vitalant was pleased that our parish exceeded expectations for a first-time drive and they have already committed to provide more staffing and extended hours for our future Blood Drives, the next of which will be held on October 15, 2023, with future drives taking place on a quarterly basis after that. The Knights have already made plans to broaden our donor recruitment efforts and hope that they will be able to exceed a goal of 40 units of blood for the next drive.

When a person attempts to donate blood, they must first complete a medical questionnaire in order to determine if they are eligible to donate. This covers any medications they are taking which may affect the quality of their donated blood; for example, blood thinners are not allowed for donations. This pre-screening process also ensures that the prospective doner is healthy at the time of donation and has not visited any restricted areas where they might have been exposed to infectious diseases (for example, malaria or covid).

Following the pre-screening process, the actual time for the blood donation takes about 15 to 20 minutes, after which the donor rests to have a snack and drink juices while waiting for a specified time (usually about 20 minutes) to make certain they are alright following their donation.

The total time for the process of giving blood may take up to an hour for a whole blood donation. Vitalant also does power-red donations which only collect red blood cells and recycle the blood. If a donor agrees to this type of donation, the time will be longer but this type of donation is the equivalent of two whole blood donations.

In addition to the scheduled Blood Drive hours at St. Elizabeth Seton (SES), donors who may have problems with scheduling a time at SES can contact Vitalant directly (at to schedule a blood donation at one of their sites, and SES will still get credit for these donations.

Notices for the October Blood Drive will be posted a couple of weeks before the drive in the weekly bulletin and via signage in the patio area starting in September.


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