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Pebble Beach is pumped 

Some people will say it’s because of the cookies and brownies. Others prefer the fresh fruit. But most will admit they give blood at Pebble Beach Company’s blood drives because of the passion Anne Larson instilled in others and their determination to keep it going.

In 1996, Larson attended a blood drive for Community Hospital at Pebble Beach Company, where she had begun working two months before. A handful of people showed up. A dozen years later, employees of the Pebble Beach Company, through six blood drives at each of three locations, or 18 drives per year, have donated a total of 3,435 pints (or 429 gallons) of blood — a contribution that has helped more than 7,000 patients over the years.

 

Anne Larson's greatest incentive to keep the drives going was her own passion and enthusiasm for giving blood. A donor for 30 years, she attributes her start, during her 20s, to her father, who taught her the importance of giving blood and its ability to save lives.

Larson was the driving force until she retired in 2007, but the tradition is continuing.

“Pebble Beach Company has made a unique investment in our community,” says Nancy Shammas, donor recruiter for Community Hospital’s Blood Center. “And it couldn’t come at a more important time. We have a growing number of patients who are more critically ill and in need of more blood. We also have the Tyler Heart Institute, where patients require blood for open-heart surgeries. Our donations are up, but it’s still a challenge to keep up with usage. The blood goes out as fast as it comes in.”

Community Hospital is nearly self-sufficient when it comes to blood use: Blood used by the community comes from the community. If donations meet demand, the hospital and its patients also save money — $300 or more for each pint that has to be purchased.

Part of Shammas’ job is to organize mobile blood drives using the bloodmobile, a blood center on wheels that travels to scheduled locations.

“We first started using a mobile coach in 1992,” Shammas says. “In 2007, the hospital’s Auxiliary bought a new bloodmobile for us — a nearly $200,000, 40-foot vehicle with five donor chairs inside.”

It makes its way around the Peninsula, with regular visits to many places, including the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey’s farmers’ market, and Monterey Bay Aquarium. Pebble Beach Company is its most frequent stop.

“For most of our blood drives, we provide refreshments, but I have to say, Pebble Beach Company puts out quite a spread for its donors,” Shammas says.

Healthy people can donate every 56 days, so Pebble Beach hosts six drives a year at each of three sites. Each site has its own company coordinator: Kathy Sierra took over for Larson at the company’s resource-management area; Kasie Fogelman oversees the Spanish Bay site; and Bonnie Bradley handles the lodge.

“If you pull out the red blood cells, the platelets, and the plasma,” she says, “you can help three different people with one pint of blood.”

This year, Larson’s personal donations will reach 13 gallons, while her husband, John Souza, has hit the 20-gallon mark.

(Above) Blood donor Julie

Hansen  relaxes while Julie

Vucina, RN, draws her blood.

“John loves to tell how I made him give blood on our first date,” she says.
“He promised to take me to dinner, but we had to give blood first.”

Donating blood to Community Hospital helps ensure the local blood supply. Buying blood from other blood-collection sources is expensive - and often it is hard to find.(Data for 2008)