Earlier this week, Global Blood Fund Executive Director Gavin Evans received a highly prestigious award within the blood industry for his leadership of a program created to help blood center workers in war-torn Ukraine.
The Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies, or AABB, honored Evans and 13 others with its 2023 President's Award at its annual meeting, which took place in Nashville, Tennessee. The award, selected each year by the association's president, recognizes "extraordinary public service and contributions of an individual or an organization in the health care arena," according to the AABB.
Evans accepted the award on behalf of Global Blood Fund, an OBI-founded nonprofit that focuses on improving transfusion care in some of the world's most impoverished countries. Since April, Global Blood Fund, in partnership with Our Blood Institute and the Ukrainian NGO DonorUA, has provided hot meals every Wednesday to the employees of Zaporizhzhia Regional Blood Service Center.
"Supporting Ukraine has been a tremendous privilege, and I am in awe at the bravery and dedication of the blood banking staff working tirelessly on their front line," Evans said upon receiving the award. "Whether soldier or civilian, there are so many things to worry about in a warzone but, thanks to the team there, availability of blood when needed is not one of them. AABB's recognition is yet further proof to these colleagues that their efforts are seen and truly appreciated around the world."
Zaporizhzhia, located in southeastern Ukraine, is under constant attack from Russian forces. Missiles have destroyed countless buildings, including one directly across from the blood center, and nearly every street in the city of 700,000 has been damaged from daily shelling, according to Ukrainian sources on the ground. Still, residents in the area continue to donate blood, and the blood center, which employs about 150 people, runs 24/7 to meet its community's needs.
Those of us here at OBI would like to wish all of Zaporizhzhia's blood center workers peace and safety during this time and would like to congratulate Gavin Evans and the rest of this year's honorees for their tremendous public service.
If you would like to be a part of the work we are doing for Zaporizhzhia's blood center workers, you can do so by making a monetary donation through globalbloodfund.org. You can also choose to forgo your gifted T-shirt the next time you give blood at an OBI drive or blood center and we will donate the proceeds of the shirt to GBF.