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Claudia Schreiber

15 Years of Saving Lives Through Blood Drives

2008 Plant Operations Team
Center: Claudia Schreiber

I’ve been a service coordinator in Plant Operations for the past six years or so and just love my job.  But I started at Holy Cross Hospital in the labs in 1980, specifically in the Blood Bank, and I guess that’s where part of my heart still lies:  I’ve been running the blood drives ever since the hospital started organizing them around 1996, 15 years ago. They’re held four times a year, at least, and are open to members of the community.  

One of my funnier memories took place in the early 2000s. The Archbishop of Washington at the time was Cardinal McCarrick—a huge fan of Holy Cross Hospital. And he wanted to participate in our March drive, which was truly a big deal.  He arrived with his entourage, and because it was Lent, I just happened to ask him if he was fasting.  He said “yes.” So I, gently, told him that you’re not supposed to donate without first eating and drinking plenty of fluids. He assured me everything would be fine and insisted we go ahead.  Afterward, he refused to eat anything, but did drink a lot of fluids before going on his way.

The next morning, I was horrified to see an article in the Washington Post about how the Cardinal had attended a big dinner the previous evening….and passed out! As if that weren’t bad enough, the paper then explained that he had given blood earlier in the day at Holy Cross Hospital.
By far, though, the most memorable drive occurred in September 2001, just about a week after 9/11.  (It had been scheduled months earlier.)  It was such an awful time--everyone felt like they had to do SOMETHING, anything, to help. I’ve never seen so many people, members of the community, show up! We had to ask employees NOT to donate that day, just to be able to accommodate all the others. Even at that, we still had to turn some people away.   

In the end, we collected 200 pints that day.  The normal goal is 80. It was truly inspirational.

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