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HomeUncategorizedTwo Harbors Vision Pro Hosts Pint for a Pint Blood Drive

Two Harbors Vision Pro Hosts Pint for a Pint Blood Drive

Holly Graham loves a challenge and help­ing others. Shortly after she started working at the Two Harbors Vision Pro in 2011, her boss asked if she would take on organizing a blood drive with the Memorial Blood Center. “I was happy to do it,” she said. She’s been happily helping Vision Pro host the blood drives ever since. “I like doing it. I like bring­ing people in,” she said.

This year, the Memorial Blood Center pro­vided 108 appointment times on August 8th. At first, Holly wondered how she would find enough participants to fill all the slots. She need not have worried. “People come out of the woodwork,” she told me. “We always go over our goal.” Even during the throws of the Covid pandemic, though the venue had to change to allow for social distancing, donors showed up in droves to help.

This drive was the Two Harbors Vision Pro’s largest to date and the annual event is the biggest blood drive in the area. The tim­ing of the event is important. I learned from my conversation with Holly that the avail­ability of blood for patients is always short of what is needed. That is especially true in the summer months. “People travel and they just aren’t home to donate,” Holly advised.

With two bloodmobiles parked alongside Vision Pro, the Memorial Blood Center of­fered quite an incentive to donors. The Pint for a Pint event handed out coupons for a dis­counted drink at participating breweries and pubs. Locally, Castle Danger Brewery in Two Harbors was all in for the cause.

Holly and her team had a goal of 79 units of blood, but they strived to surpass that num­ber. They were successful in that pursuit. “We collected 96 units,” Holly reported. “That is the potential to save 288 lives.” Recipients of the donations will be local, as well. All do­nations remain in Northern Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin.

Holly’s colleague at Vision Pro, Stephanie Johnson, knows firsthand how life-changing blood donations can be. Stephanie was diag­nosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), a rare disorder where the immune system at­tacks the nervous system which can paralyze part of or the whole body. She described GBS as “under the umbrella MS” but with proper treatment, it can be recoverable.

Stephanie’s lower body was affected by GBS, and her treatment involved five rounds of intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) in­fusions. These antibodies are derived from blood and Stephanie is extremely thankful for the generosity of donors.

“I can’t describe how grateful I am,” Steph­anie told me. “I don’t know if I would be able to walk and function.”

Holly echoes that gratitude. “I’m grateful for all the people that work for Memorial Blood Center and all that they do,” she said. “And I’m always grateful for all the donors.”

Cheers to Holly and the Vision Pro team for hosting the blood drive and raise a glass to the Memorial Blood Center. Congratula­tions on the great turnout! Also, thank you to all those who participated. All your efforts truly change and save lives. A big shout out to Stephanie, as well. Thank you for being willing to share your story!

Feel free to reach out to me at sarahwritesnsj@yahoo.com with any news we should news about!

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