Team Member’s Experiences Mean Passion for Blood Donation
By Claire DeRoin
SIOUX CITY, IA — Rebekah Derochie may not yet have turned 25, but she’s had plenty of life experience that all seems to lead back to blood donation.
Currently a territory representative, Rebekah is responsible for connecting with community members, school administrators, and businesses to set up blood drives in northwestern Iowa. Her background and familiarity with how quickly someone can require a blood transfusion gives her a powerful perspective.
“I actually went to school for firefighting and EMT, so I’m very, very familiar with the need [for blood],” Rebekah explained during a rare slow moment in the office. “Blood is very important in traumatic situations. First responders are always there for car accidents, anyone who’s been injured. Just being able to see that firsthand, they know exactly how important it is, especially rushing them to the hospital to get that care.”
While she hasn’t ruled it out for the future, Rebekah’s path led away from being a first responder. During her firefighting classes, a friendly LifeServe face recognized her potential for saving lives in another way. “One of the firefighters works here at LifeServe. He suggested it, and I said ‘All right, well, you know, I’ll try it.’”
Rebekah started at LifeServe Blood Center as a phlebotomist, traveling with the bloodmobile to communities up to two and a half hours outside Sioux City, her home base. From parking the bloodmobile outside of a business to setting up donor chairs inside a community center, Rebekah spent her workweek learning the ins and outs of mobile blood drives. Being on the front line of the blood donation process was her favorite part of the job. “Just to be able to talk to donors about why they do it is awesome!” she said.
While Rebekah’s days consist of meeting with blood drive chairpeople and working in the office now, she’ll never forget the lessons she learned on the road. “There was one incident in Sioux Center. A seven year old came up and asked his mom how old you have to be to donate. It was because his friend has cancer.” The boy’s parents donated blood together for their son’s friend. “It was awesome!” Rebekah said. “I was tearing up. Just to know why they did it and the story behind it. Even if the blood isn’t going to that exact person, it’s still very important.”