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Program Connects Grifols Employees and Donors to Patients

April 8, 2012

As a manufacturer of immunoglobulins, Grifols strongly believes that it is important to join the cause to bring awareness to PIDD and educate donors on the importance of their plasma donation. The BJHG program allows Grifols employees to do just that while reinforcing what is important – manufacturing safe and quality life-saving medicines.

During the Primary Immunodeficiency Awareness month that took place in April, each of Grifols Biomat USA’s 65 donor centers participated in a month-long fundraising effort to raise funds for the Immune Deficiency Foundation’s (IDF) Blue Jeans for Healthy Genes (BJHG) fundraising program. Through the immense efforts of Grifols Biomat USA employees and plasma donors, the centers were successful in raising an extraordinary $62,000. Grifols Biomat USA CEO and President, Shinji Wada, made the centers a promise that for every dollar the centers raised he would provide a corporate match of one euro. With the current exchange rate, that resulted in an additional $91,760 for total contribution to IDF of $153,760!

For the last five years, Grifols Biomat USA and BJHG have worked together to create an annual fundraising campaign to bring awareness about Primary Immune Deficiency Diseases (PIDD) by encouraging the development of relationships between patients, plasma donors and center employees.

Creative initiatives

This year the Grifols centers were creative in their fundraising initiatives. Some of the centers held bake sales, online auctions, pie eating contests, and car washes. A Grifols Biomat USA’s operations manager ran a total of 66 miles in the month of April to raise funds and at another center two employees bungee jumped off the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas. All of these events not only helped raise funds, but they also spread awareness of PIDD to the donors and in many cases the community where the center is located.

In addition, BJHG encourages patients and family members to visit plasma centers nationwide to share their stories and thank the donors for their incredible gift of life-saving plasma. This year 19 Grifols Biomat USA centers had visitors from the IDF community. These visiting patients and family members gained a better understanding of the importance of plasma donation and saw firsthand the regulations that are in place to produce the safest, highest-quality plasma for their life-saving medications. In turn, plasma donors and employees saw the important role they play in the lives of these patients and the vital medicines that are produced from their plasma.

Portland Center experience

We had the pleasure of meeting with Tiffani and her grandmother Bette Jo. Tiffani suffers from Primary Immune Deficiency Disease. She battles with constant illness and infections. In a typical week, Tiffani has to infuse two times which takes upward of two or more hours each session at a cost of over $4000 per month. She is a strong and very outgoing young woman. Recently she was chosen as the “Real Hero” by the American Red Cross for her dedication and unique ability to rally the community to donate. This is an award typically reserved for firefighters and police officers. Additionally, 16 year-old Tiffani is headed to Washington, D.C. to speak in front of the entire Congress of the United States of America in order to bring awareness to this potentially fatal condition. She met with staff members and spoke with many of our donors thanking them for their generous gift. It was a great visit and we thanked them for sharing their story and welcomed them back any time. Bette Jo, Tiffani’s grandmother, stated she was impressed and would like the opportunity for other patients in the area to visit our facility to see the front line in the defense against PIDD.

Kristopher Jonas
Grifols Biomat USA.

Everett Center experience

We had the pleasure of meeting Ellan Nelson here in the Everett center. Ellan suffers from Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID). She has to have IVIG infusions every three weeks to stay healthy. She had a wonderful time learning about our center and how the donation process works. This was her first time ever stepping foot into a plasma center and she was very touched to see all the steps and care everyone puts into helping retrieve plasma donations. She spoke with a few of the donors and thanked them for donating and helping save lives.

Patient visit Testimonials:

“I was told by IDF that my role was to ‘put a face on the illness’ however after visiting Biomat, I now have a ‘face’ for the donors and conscientious employees. Biomat will always stand out as a highlight of 2011.” - Julianne

“It was a treat for us to be able to understand how much love and hard work goes into every gram of David’s medicine. Your hard work and the unselfish giving of your donors was great for us to see and be a part of. Thank you for all you do every day.” – Karen and David

“Thank you so much for the warm welcome at your center this morning. I was very impressed with the process and procedures done by your staff. Even though I am already a recipient of your product, the tour simply blew me out of the water!” - Nancy

“It is a great experience for us to see what goes into making our IVIG and it’s also great for the center to see that they are making a difference. They have no idea how many people in Utah benefit from their service!” – Jill

“We sincerely thank you for letting us tour your facility. It was an eye opening experience and we learned a lot! The bottom line is we would not have the same quality of life without immunoglobulin products derived from plasma. Please thank everyone there for their hospitality.” – Chelsee and Daphne

Donor Testimonials:

“My life perspective on many aspects [of donating] changed greatly…. I am thinking about the people on the other end. Who is on the receiving end? How old are they? What lessons of humility and of testing personal pain limits have they had to learn?” – Kelli

“Every time I am able to donate I think back to the times when my husband needed plasma products. I remember that someplace someone gave a gift that gave my husband a little more time. I only hope that with each donation I make, I can do the same.” – Linda

“At the end of the day it makes me feel good. It is important to be able to look yourself in the eye and like what you see.” – Rick

“I’m not a doctor or a surgeon, and I’ll never practice in the medical field, but I make a difference. I can help those in the medical field by donating the resource needed to generate treatments doctors use to safe lives.” – Tyler

Source: The magazine for Grifols Staff -Special Edition – June 2011

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