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Malibuites donate blood in midst of ‘critical shortage’

After donating blood on July 25, Leo Carrillo Lifeguard Supervisor John Regan (left) waits for a sandwich made by California State lifeguard Tom Snyder, who created the blood drive for the Angeles District State Park Lifeguards in 1998. Photos by Suzy Demeter/22nd Century Media
Silverio Luna donates blood.
California State Parks Public Safety Superintendent Tony Hoffman donates blood to the American Red Cross during a drive held at Malibu’s Leo Carrillo State Park on July 25.
Malibu Planning Commissioner and repeat blood donor John Mazza waits his turn.
(Left to right) charge nurse Sarah Little, nurse Vanessa Urrutia, nurse Carmela Bazan, nurse Jingle Bustamante and American Red Cross account manager Sean Inoue are pictured during the July 25 blood drive in Malibu.
Lifeguards and California State Park employee wait their turn to donate. Pictured is State Park employee Cody Hoffman (second from left) and lifeguards (left to right) Jonathan Baldwin, Trevor Robbins, Dylan Pritchett and Chris Colajezzi.
Mark Marquez, who works for and drives the American Red Cross bus, sets up at Leo Carrillo.
Third-year Leo Carrillo lifeguard Kelly Smyth enjoys one of Tom Snyder’s sandwiches after her blood donation.
Suzy Demeter, Freelance Reporter
2:45 pm PDT July 31, 2017

Malibu’s blood drive on July 25 saw its best participation in a decade. 

Thirty-eight units of blood were donated during this past week’s drive at Leo Carrillo State Park, according to Sean Inoue, account manager of donor resources development at The American Red Cross.

And the timing couldn’t have been any better, as American Red Cross recently claimed it was up against a critical shortage.

“For it to be this critical is uncommon,” Inoue said.  

The annual summer drive, which was held from 2-8 p.m., invited lifeguards, rangers, park maintenance and members of the community to donate blood.  

The serene location, in the north parking lot adjacent to the beach, was made possible with the support of California State Lifeguard Tom Snyder and Jr. Lifeguard instructor Robyn Doler. A team of nurses were on-site along with Mark Marquez, the driver of the American Red Cross bus.  

Inside the bus, charge nurse Sarah Little, along with Vanessa Urrutia, Carmela Bazan and Jingle Bustamante, conducted brief examinations, took vitals and asked health history questions before the blood draw. 

Inoue helped donors sign in and made sure the event ran smoothly.  

Inoue said there is a need for more locations in Malibu for the blood drive, a need for which he hopes to raise awareness. The goal for this particular drive, he said, was to receive 35 to 40 units of blood — a goal that was met.  

Malibu Planning Commissioner John Mazza, a repeat donor, was among the participants in this year’s event. Mazza briefly waited under the canopy, enjoying the ocean view before his turn. 

Leo Carrillo Lifeguard Supervisor John Regan was set to go at the early part of the day, as was California State Parks Public Safety Superintendent Tony Hoffman. 

“I felt that I should show my support as I do every year,” Hoffman said. “It’s not a one-time deal. We know there’s more than one way to save lives.”

The American Red Cross lists Hoffman as a 33-time donor, he stated. 

Silverio Luna, whose brother is a junior lifeguard at Leo Carrillo, also donated for his second year. 

A late afternoon barbecue followed, with Tom Snyder making sub sandwiches for the participants. Snyder said he started the drive for the Angeles District State Park Lifeguards in 1998 at the Sycamore Cove location in Ventura County. The location shifted a few years back after major storms destroyed the quaint location. 

Lifeguards from the Leo towers showed up in the latter part of the day after their shifts ended, doing their part to save lives even while off duty.