When she was in college, Alecia Lipton’s goal was to knock news anchor Connie Chung off the air by the age of 40. Lipton, 44, instead turned her investigative sights toward a career in health care. After a 20-year career at nursing home facilities, she became Hoxworth Blood Center’s community relations manager five years ago.
We caught up with the busy Mason wife and mom of a blended family of seven children to talk about her work with the organization, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.
QUESTION: What are your current projects?
ANSWER: We launched our Hoxworth Plus points system in February. It’s an online system where you can manage your appointments online. You can also see where your blood was used, such as Mercy Hospital or Children’s Hospital. For every donation you give, you can accrue a number of points. You can save those up and redeem those for something big, like a $50 gift certificate to Montgomery Inn, or a $10 gift certificate to Skyline. It’s our way of saying, “Thank you.”
Q: Where does the blood go?
A: We supply blood to 31 area hospitals in 17 counties, and we’re the only supplier of blood to those hospitals. Children’s Hospital is our largest user right now, because of all the phenomenal procedures and treatments they can do there. We need at least 350 individual blood donors and 35 platelet donors (per day) just to maintain the need. That’s not taking into consideration an emergency or crisis that might happen. The weather, flu season – we have a lot of challenges we really can’t control.
Q: What blood type is needed most?
A: I’m asked that question a lot and I always tell everybody, the rarest blood type is the one that’s not on the shelf when you or a family member needs it the most. We really need everybody to donate. At any given time, 37 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, but only 7 percent do. If we could get everybody who is eligible to donate at least once a year, we would never have to deal with a blood shortage.