A generation of Kansas Citians has grown up with Community Blood Center. They know if they, or someone they love needs blood in an emergency, Community Blood Center will make sure it's there. That's what Community Blood Center does. But that hasn't always been the case. Over 60 years ago there was no centralized blood collection and distribution agency to serve the greater Kansas City area and its surrounding counties.
Instead, hospitals had to collect their own blood. If you needed blood, you had to rely on the kindness of your friends and relatives to donate blood on your behalf. If you had a rare type of blood, or there was a shortage in your area, your life was in jeopardy. That is why a group of community-minded physicians, hospital and civic leaders decided to organize Community Blood Center--to serve the needs of patients in the community, and ultimately to save lives.
Community Blood Center was founded by a group of physicians that included Dr. Charles Hungate, Dr. Paul C. Platt, and Dr. Carl Ferris
In fact, a March 28, 1957, Kansas City Star article quotes Robert Molgren, chairman of Community Blood Center's first planning committee and a founding member of Community Blood Center as saying, "It insures an ample and constant supply of blood available to hospitals as patients' needs arise. The problems of individuals are eased by this advanced collective action."
With the opening of Community Blood Center, the area's many blood collection and distribution resources were now coordinated under one organization. Hospitals no longer had to summon donors or buy blood from other sources. Community Blood Center created a central resource for collecting and processing blood and blood products, ensuring area patients access to the total blood supply available in the region.
Today, Community Blood Center meets that goal and offers many other services including:
- A consistent program for testing; helping ensure the safety and purity of the blood supply;
- A research program; designed to bring new tests and treatment options to the community;
- Reference laboratory services; allowing physicians and hospitals immediate information on tests utilizing state-of-the-art technology;
- Ongoing educational programs; offering the latest findings to the medical, technical and nursing communities, as well as the general public;
- Convenient donation sites; blood is collected at 6 neighborhood sites and more than 1,800 annual bloodmobiles. Of the 120,000 pints collected each year, approximately 70% are given through mobiles.
It is through the commitment of volunteer donors that Community Blood Center is able to maintain its heritage of service to the community. Since opening in 1958, over 800,000 patients have received blood donated at Community Blood Center locations or through mobiles.
In September of 1998, Community Blood Center acquired the assets of Kansas Blood Services (KBS) located in Topeka. This agreement brings hospitals, physicians and patients in nine counties in northeast Kansas under the stewardship of this area's only locally-owned and operated, non-profit blood center.