Blood drives help local in need |

Blood drives help local in need

Staff Reports
Gabrielle Hicks
Special to The R-C |

There is scarcely a place in Minden or Gardnerville that has not been host to the United Blood Services Bloodmobile.

The blood drives in the area are coordinated by volunteer Monica Moore.

Donations collected at the various events are touching Valley residents, Moore said.

Cashier at the Carson Valley Swim Center Gabrielle Hicks shared her story about how the United Blood Services blood drives have affected her life.

“My name is Gabrielle and I’m 18 years old. I was 11 when I was diagnosed with type one Von Willebrand Disease and have just lately been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Lately my symptoms have worsened making me a type three.

“I receive weekly plasma infusions to replace the missing factor that causes my blood not to clot. The plasma is taken from donated blood and dehydrated and mixed with synthetic factor. In addition to the other symptoms I am very often anemic, causing me to have to get either blood transfusions or iron infusions (the iron is also taken from blood that is donated). I have O- blood, which is one of the most rare blood types. Because of this I have had to travel to other hospitals to receive the treatment I need because our smaller community hospitals often run out of the blood that I need.

“When I first began my treatment I would travel to Reno to the hemophilia treatment center to receive my infusions, but the travel added increased stress to my joints in result causing pain. I have since learned to give myself the infusions, and have a home health care nurse who comes to assist if I need help. Because I can do the infusions myself the hospital sends me refrigerated factor weekly along with the supplies I will need. Recently I have been given a midline, which allows me to do my infusions without having to poke myself each time, and soon I will get a permanent port.

“The blood donated from the community makes the treatments a lot easier to get access to because then we don’t have to use synthetic plasma, which the body can reject, and a lot cheaper, because each synthetic treatment costs a couple thousand dollars each. Blood transfusions take hours at a time to get done. They are also a big burden. They leave you tired and at times have bruising and soreness at the insertion site. I am unable to donate my own blood because of the missing factor and iron deficiency, but if I could I would without a doubt. I’ve seen first hand how much people benefit from the blood donated, and those who receive the blood and parts of it are forever grateful for those who do.

“Von Willebrand disease and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome are genetic, and there are no cure for either. Both are managed through lifelong treatments. Because of my bleeding disorder and the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome I am restricted in my activites, and have had to give up many of the things I love. I cannot play any contact sports or any high impact sports. I have taken up swimming and I absolutely love it. Even though it is a low impact sport there are times when I can’t even do that. I have very low bone density and have an increased chance at breaks and bleeds. I try my best to remain active through all the complications, but at times it is hard.

I am very grateful for the medical professionals who have helped me throughout my treatment process, including those at the HTC in Reno, the Carson Valley Medical Center infusions center nurses, and the medical professionals all throughout the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah along with the University of Utah hospital nurses, and most of all the public who donates blood through blood drives and hospital blood collections.

I also have a “go fund me page” to help with my medical expenses. Between the trips to Utah, that I have to pay for transportation and lodging, and my husband’s recent deployment orders, my health and expenses are a constant headache. Got to if you’re interested in checking out my campaign.”

If anyone has questions about eligibility for being a blood donor due to medications, surgeries you’ve had or are scheduled to have, travels outside the U.S call 800-696-4484 or go

If you are coordinating any events like a running race, chili cook-off, rummage sale, or would like to host a blood drive at your church, place of business, school call Moore at 775-513-5931.

United Blood Services needs roughly 6-8 weeks notice to schedule a blood drive.

A blood donation takes 45 minutes to an hour.

“Eat well before, restrict caffeine two hours before, drink plenty of water and do minimal lifting,” Moore said.