Tragedy becomes call to action on Washington and Oregon Blood Donor Day Dec. 18

2017 Amtrak train derailment underscoring need for emergency preparedness this winter and through pandemic

The 2017 Amtrak 501 train derailment near DuPont demonstrated that when it comes to emergency needs, the Pacific Northwest blood supply needs to be stocked and at the ready – community ready.

Governors Kate Brown and Jay Inslee have recognized Friday, Dec. 18 as Washington and Oregon Blood Donor Day in recognition of the donors who stepped up before and after the accident, according to a Seattle-based Bloodworks Northwest news release.

Bloodworks invites the community to take part by donating a pint of blood at centers or pop-up blood drives across the region to commemorate the vital role local donors play in emergency readiness. All donors who give on Dec. 18 each donor will receive a special pin.

“Our mission calls on all of us – our community – to be prepared and ready for anything,” said Bloodworks President and CEO Curt Bailey. “Having blood on the shelves is essential when unforeseeable emergencies or tragedies happen. Hospitals need donors to keep donating throughout the winter season and to make it a lifesaving habit.”

The 2017 Amtrak train tragic event demonstrated that when it comes to patient needs, there’s no such thing as a holiday as 150 blood donations were rushed to injured passengers. Demand for blood is continuous to support local patients having surgeries, trauma care and organ transplants – as well as patients needing blood for cancer treatment.

It typically takes 1,000 donors to meet community need. This month, Bloodworks needs an additional 300 donors a week to keep up with hospital requests for blood. Not sure whether you’re eligible to donate blood? There are some basic qualifications to donate—typically you’ll need to be at least 18, at least 110 pounds and in good health. But many other factors, like travel, tattoos, and vaccinations people think might disqualify them aren’t true.

Donating blood in December is also an important step in learning if you have Sars-CoV-2 (COVID 19) antibodies. That’s because Bloodworks is testing all donations for COVID-19 antibodies to help donors learn if they have the antibodies powerful in helping critically ill coronavirus patients through convalescent plasma donation. Test results will indicate if a person’s immune system has produced antibodies to the virus, regardless of whether you ever showed symptoms. Information at

About Dec. 18, 2017

The Amtrak 501 passenger train heading from Seattle to Portland tragically derailed, prompting immediate action by first responders – to aid everyone aboard the train. The injured passengers would be transported to local hospitals, and cared for with 150 blood donations made by our community. The care provided was only possible because Bloodworks shelves were stocked, weeks prior, with enough blood. The accident underscores the necessity for the community to be prepared for the next local emergency.

About Dec. 18, 2020

• First Lady Trudi Inslee will donate blood at Silverdale Donor Center

• Pop Up @ Kent Station includes Cancer Survivor & Kent Mayor Dana Ralph

• Pop Up @ South Sound Manor (Olympia) donors include state and local representatives ∙ Pop Up @ Graduate Hotel (Eugene, OR) donors include Mayor Lucy Vinis

• Buildings across the Northwest will be illuminated red to commemorate the day, including Lumen Field, T-Mobile Park, Columbia Tower, Hult Center (Eugene), Oregon Convention Center, Powell’s Books, and more.

• Statewide virtual blood drive through Dec. 18. Use the code “Hope” at your appointment check-in to have your donation counted towards goal of 501 donors.

Appointments and masks required. In accordance with current social distancing guidelines, no walk-ins, guests, or people under age 16 are permitted onsite. Information about who can donate and where, is available at