As the partial government shutdown closes in on the end of its second week, and the world nervously turns its attention to the possible default of the US Treasury, there is a rather somber attitude in Washington D.C. and all over the country. Many are experiencing the “trickle-down effect” of the shutdown. It really hit me when I visited the Starbucks by the ABC office at 8 a.m. the other day. Normally, this particular branch tends to have a line out the door of caffeine junkies getting their fix, especially during the morning, but I was the only customer in the whole café that morning. The baristas confirmed it has been like that all week.
Although I’m pretty sure Starbucks will survive a few weeks or more of the furlough, in times of economic uncertainty, the most vulnerable are often the ones hit the hardest. Patients, who need blood for a variety of reasons, either once or on a regular basis, such as those with bleeding disorders, do not get a furlough. Parents with children who have hemophilia do not get furloughed from the constant worry that their kids playing in a soccer game or schoolyard playground could be one fall or injury away from a devastating consequence. Blood centers do not get furloughed from ensuring a safe and adequate supply is available for all who need it, even though a lack of people working often leads to a lack of people donating blood. And our industry most definitely cannot shut down the quest to continue to find new innovations and procedures to keep up with the ever-changing ebb and flow of demand for blood and specialized blood products.
Times like this certainly take the “fun” out of fundraising. Charitable donations often come to a grinding halt during a recession. However, The Foundation for America’s Blood Centers remains more committed than ever to ensuring that we continue to award grants that enable our member blood centers to continue leading the way to new heights in transfusion medicine.
This is why we need your support more than ever. As most of you know by now, our partner this year for our annual gala is the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) USA. The commitment and passion I have seen from the folks at WFH USA to their constituents is paralleled only by the commitment and passion our blood centers have for serving all patients who need blood. But we cannot continue this mission without your help. I encourage all of you who are able, to attend or sponsor this event on Nov. 14 at the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, Ariz. I know times are tough, and the future is uncertain, but we cannot afford to shut down on the patients and their families who count on both ABC Members and the WFH USA. Not when they need us the most.
Jodi Zand, Director of Fund Development, the Foundation for America’s Blood Centers; email@example.com