When Lydia Roman was asked to voluntarily donate blood at a recent meeting with her Southern California Edison (SCE) Local Public Affairs co-workers, she rolled up her sleeves and gladly donated.

“My mother was hospitalized recently and while at the hospital faced complications that threatened her life,” said Roman, SCE Eastern region manager. “If not for having two transfusions, we would have lost her. It was so unpredictable as we had brought her in with one issue and none of us in the family could have predicted what happened.

“Given what happened with my mother, I just felt I just had to make a donation,” she added. “I encourage others to do the same.”

Approximately one in four U.S. residents will need a blood transfusion at least once in their lifetime and for some of those patients, that need may be ongoing for the rest of their lives. But no one knows who or when. 

These were some of the surprising facts presented by LifeStream, a nonprofit in San Bernardino who played host to a recent meeting of the Eastern Region of SCE’s Local Public Affairs Department. LifeStream must receive at least 500 donations daily in order to support 175,000 transfusions annually at the 80 medical facilities it supports in Southern California.

"Local, nonprofit blood banks such as LifeStream provide 50 percent of blood needed by U.S. medical facilities," said Don Escalante, public relations specialist, LifeStream. "Our most pressing need is the ongoing battle to educate and create awareness among the public. Simply stated, blood cannot be manufactured; it cannot be created. It must come from voluntary donors."

After the meeting, several volunteers stuck around to donate blood, including Tami Swigart, an SCE administrative assistant, who has donated blood in the past.

“[I’ve] participated in past blood drives with my church for a blood drive a couple of years ago,” she said. “LifeStream came to the church as part of their mobile program and it was a terrific experience to be able to help.” 

The need for more blood donors is extensive all over the nation. There are an estimated 5 million patients receiving blood annually in the US, resulting in a total of 14.6 million transfusions per year, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control.

LifeStream, a nonprofit established in 1951 to help connect donors and patients through the gift of blood, presented information on the need for more donors and for support for the organization, in addition to serving as host for the recent SCE meeting.

The region managers in attendance are responsible for the relationships the utility has with local government entities in the company’s Eastern Territory, including parts of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. 

“As we get together for our monthly meetings, it is always important for us to continue learning about the communities in which we live and work,” said Vincent Haydel, principal manager for the Local Public Affairs Eastern Region. “We dedicate a part of our agenda to that learning. In this case, learning about the work of a terrific local organization like LifeStream.

“We were impressed by the presentation and the need, and we had several of our folks step up to donate and help the cause.”

For more information on the services LifeStream provides, including working to find bone marrow donors with Be The Match, go to: www.LSTREAM.org.