Giving From the Heart

Valentine's Day is all about the heart—and for some organizations, that makes it the perfect time to hold a blood drive. One of those organizations is Grand Circle. Heading up the semi-annual event for 2013 was Kate Bispham, a traveler support associate.

For Kate, the event was personal. For one thing, she's so afraid of needles, she actually faints. “I figured I'd donate time since I can't donate blood,” she said, and laughed. More meaningfully, however, February 14 marks the anniversary of her mother's passing. "It was important to me to distract myself by devoting my thoughts to something positive," she said. Organizing the drive did just that for Kate. To make sure all 74 available slots for donation were filled, a team captain was named for each of the six floors in the company's Boston headquarters. Associates in departments with little interaction found themselves making new connections as they encouraged their colleagues to volunteer for the drive.

Flyers posted throughout the building played off the Valentine's theme with the message of "Give more than your heart, give blood!" The response was so enthusiastic, all time slots were filled early.

It was not all smooth sailing, however. When Blizzard Nemo paralyzed Boston with close to two feet of snow, it looked as if the snowy streets around GCT’s Boston headquarters might jeopardize the ability of the bloodmobile to park. "The crew was out there shoveling to make sure the bloodmobile could get through," Kate said. "I want give them a huge thanks."

Storms like Nemo—and fall’s Hurricane Sandy—make it even more important that donations be collected because dozens of New England drives were cancelled in their wake. But the Grand Circle blood drive was a rousing success. Sales associates and other employees gave up their lunch breaks to give blood and hurry back to the phones. The class of newly hired traveler support associates all offered to donate. There was even a waiting list of associates eager to participate.

In all, 53 donations were successful. As up to three patients’ lives can be saved by each donation, a total of 159 people were helped as a result of these generous contributions.