During WW2, there was a challenge of drawing sufficient blood to meet the need of veterans in the combat arena. When doctors returned from the
war to the Central Valley, they found there was insufficient blood in local hospitals available to treat their patients. Thus, the precursor to the
current organization was founded. The initial Valley Blood Bank was founded in 1953 and then replaced in 1954 by a non-profit organization, the Central California Blood Bank.
By 1971 CCBB had outgrown its Amador facility and moved to N Street, then expanded there. Eventually a Visalia branch opened in 1983, followed by centers in Porterville and North Fresno. In 1985 the organization changed its name to Central California Blood Center (CCBC). Today
the main corporate site, which was opened in 2009, is the Jenny Eller Donor Center at the intersection of Blythe and Herndon. The Eller Center was named for Jenny Eller, a local high-school softball star in the early 1990s who was diagnosed with leukemia and ultimately succumbed to the disease. Her father, Dean Eller, made the availability of blood his life’s calling to honor his daughter and ran CCBC from 1999 until 2017.
The Eller Center now also has a “bus barn” to house the organization’s five bloodmobiles. There are currently three blood centers in Fresno along with the one in Visalia. CCBC also holds blood drives at locations such as schools and churches in the area. January, in fact, was national blood donor month, though blood is obviously needed year-round. Information about the drives is available at the Home page of donateblood.org–just scroll down to see a list of events.
Mr. Christopher Staub has been President of the Blood Center since August 2017. Previously he had been Vice President of Community Blood Services in upstate New York. Mr. Staub holds a master’s degree from San Francisco State and a bachelor’s degree from York University in Pennsylvania, a state in which he also studied at Temple University and began his blood banking career at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Mr. Staub proclaims that “I am looking for contacts and collaborators to help advance the sustainability of blood banking and the advent of new cures and treatments for blood diseases.”
Mr. Staub says one of the biggest challenges he faces is finding sufficient healthy donors. 70% of the population can give blood but only 5% does. “We tell real stories of people right here in the Fresno area that needed blood, platelets or plasma, and how that made a difference. There are some really heart moving stories of lives saved of all ages and backgrounds, all because people in their communities donated blood,” he says.
Mr. Staub says that CCBC is looking to open a new
fixed location in Clovis and to add a mobile unit. In other growth initiatives, he explains that CCBC is at the forefront of a number of new blood product
initiatives. “We have launched production of new trauma transfusion blood products like “low titer O whole blood” (LTOWB) and liquid plasma for achieving faster hemostasis in trauma than traditional blood products. Use of LTOWB is now preferred when a trauma patient enters the trauma center, based on experiences in military surgery in Iraq and Afghanistan. CCBC is one of the first few blood centers in the US to offer these to our local trauma surgeons.”
On living in the Central Valley, Mr. Staub tells that “I love the Central Valley because it reminds me of my home town (York, PA) and the upstate New York places where I spent many wonderful years- strong family and community bonds, people who help their neighbors, people very proud of their communities.”
From time to time FOCUS 360 will include profiles of people and organizations making a difference in our community. It is not known whether those profiled approve or disapprove of Regency Investment Advisors or its advisory services provided. This article reflects the opinions of those interviewed, and should not be taken as a request for you to donate to any particular organization.