Blog of Bloodworks Northwest

Amtrak 501 & WA & OR State Blood Donor Day: When a Tragedy Becomes a Call to Action

“Amtrak 501, emergency, emergency, emergency! We are on the ground!

Those are the frenzied words of the conductor of Amtrak train 501 on the morning of December 18, 2017, right after her train had derailed at high speed and plunged onto the highway below near DuPont, WA. The tragic scene gave way to heartbreak and, with no warning at all, a massive demand from injured patients on our regional blood supply.

But because of donors like you, we were ready.

As the day unfolded, lines outside our Donor Centers began even before they opened and grew longer and longer, causing some to stay open long past the normal closing time. The outpouring of eager blood donors was inspirational, but what’s important is this: The lives saved that day were saved with blood donated in the days and weeks before the accident, which illustrates clearly why it’s so important to have a strong blood supply every single day.

The tragedy on December 18, 2017 would have been many times worse had our blood supply not been ready for it. But not all emergencies make the news; the unimaginable happens to someone, somewhere every single day and every donation you make stands at the ready to give them the best chance they can get. We call that being “Community Ready,” and after the challenging year we’ve all had together, we’d say being Community Ready is in our blood.

Please listen to the latest episode of out podcast, Bloodworks 101, titled “People Just Started Showing Up” to learn more about that fateful day and why, with the support of the respective legislatures and Governors, we made December 18 State Blood Donor Day in both Washington in Oregon. May it remind us every year of what we learned in 2020 – that together is the only way to face the unimaginable, and it is in the collective overcoming of adversity that we, a community Bound by Blood, grow stronger.

Community strong


Community ready


A community that can overcome anything.

December 14, 2020 5:49PM

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