Amanda Hall

Sept. 20, 2021
PVH-ICU-blood-drive: ICU nurses Amanda Hall, left, and Samantha Hadlock stand in front of a Garth Englund Blood Center mobile blood unit Sept. 11 at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital. Photo by Robert Allen, UCHealth.

Nurse mobilizes blood donations to honor colleague

Amid intense shifts caring for ICU patients during a COVID-19 surge, nurses at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital took turns visiting a blood bus one Saturday to honor Samantha Hadlock, a nurse colleague who works alongside them in the ICU.

For months, Hadlock has received blood transfusions while experiencing anemia, and doctors haven’t yet found the cause. She’s continued to work in the ICU, serving a vital role as the pandemic led to staffing shortages and record hospital capacities across Colorado and the United States

“The ICU has such an incredible team, and this blood drive is an example of that,” Hadlock said during a blood drive in her honor on Sept. 11. “They spend hours each week helping patients get through the darkest days of COVID-19 and are still willing to drop everything to come donate blood on their day off.”

Inspired by her colleague, fellow ICU nurse Amanda Hall wanted to find a way to honor and support Hadlock.

“I originally wanted to donate to Samy because we have the same blood type,” Hall said. “I thought it would be a nice, genuine way to thank Samy for all her hard work this year, and continuing to show up for us in the ICU even when she hasn’t felt well.”

After learning federal guidelines prohibit sharing with donors and recipients who receives which blood units, Hall started donating blood to Garth Englund Blood Center. She asked Hadlock if she was OK with her organizing the PVH ICU Community Blood Drive in her honor to encourage others to donate.

The schedule for the blood drive Sept. 11 filled up, so they scheduled a second event Sept. 29. Over 20 nurses, among others, volunteered to donate their blood.

“Family, friends and co-workers have signed up that have never donated before, which will hopefully bring further donations in the future,” Hadlock said.

ICU nurse Amanda Hall, left, shows off the blood drive shirt worn by Samantha Hadlock in front of a Garth Englund Blood Center mobile blood unit Sept. 11 at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital. Photo by Robert Allen, UCHealth.

Bridget Aesoph, blood donor recruiter with Garth Englund Blood Center, said demand for blood is significant, particularly during an ongoing national shortage.

“Our ICU nurses are exceptional in so many ways. When they are not on the front line saving lives, they are also behind the scenes saving lives for those in the community,” she said.

PVH ICU Nurse Manager Lydia Baldwin, who signed up to donate blood, said the nurses’ initiative is impressive.

“Samy and Mandy are both amazing critical care nurses who provide clinical expertise with compassion and kindness towards others in need,” Baldwin said. “Their work and the efforts to coordinate this event reflect their commitment to the wellbeing of others, perseverance amidst the tumult and hope for the future.”

Hall said Aesoph made it easy to organize the blood drive. On Sept. 11, both Hall and Hadlock sat outside the mobile Garth Englund mobile blood unit parked in front of PVH. They wore shirts Hadlock designed with a blood drop, a heart and the words “Improving lives one drop at a time.”

Hall had just finished an overnight shift in the ICU, and Hadlock that morning was admitted as a patient at PVH receiving multiple blood transfusions.

“It is awesome that so many people are coming together for something so important to me,” Hadlock said.

How to donate:

Either sign up for the Sept. 29 PVH ICU Community Blood Drive or consider booking an appointment online at one of the Garth Englund Blood Center locations in Fort Collins or Loveland. To request a blood mobile for a blood drive, please complete this form. Blood collected at UCHealth Garth Englund Blood Center stays local and helps people within our communities.

People in other areas can visit to find places to donate blood.


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About the author

Robert Allen loves meeting new people and learning their stories, and he's continually inspired by the patients, staff and providers he meets at UCHealth.

A journalist for 12 years, he joined UCHealth after reporting and editing at the Detroit Free Press. He is the author of Fading Ads of Detroit, a book exploring connections between classic Detroit brands — from Carhartt to Mac-O-Lac Paints to the Detroit Tigers — found on ghost signs and the personal histories of Detroit residents. He previously reported for the Fort Collins Coloradoan, Summit Daily News and Montrose Daily Press.

His outdoor adventures include scrambling summits, hunting powder stashes via snowboard and taking a three-week winter rafting trip down the Grand Canyon. The Oklahoma State University graduate lives in Fort Collins with his wife, Rachel, and their obstinate pug, Darla.