Blog of Bloodworks Northwest

Boeing’s Joe Geck: Donor Evangelist

He’s been here before. It’s Tuesday, April 10 and 55-year-old Joe Geck of Everett, Washington is donating his 100th unit of blood at a Bloodworks Northwest mobile drive in Boeing’s Mukilteo corporate offices. “I get paid to lay down on the job,” he jokes as the donation begins just after lunch. There’s 80s rock playing on a portable sound system, which brings a smile to Joe. It’s music he grew up with. He asks one of the phlebotomists, “Whose playlist is this? I love it!”

Thirty-seven years ago, Joe started donating at Portland’s Jesuit High School. “Back in high school it was just something you were supposed to do,” he said.

Now the engineering manager has been donating at Boeing for 31 years—and working as a tireless advocate for the simple, life-saving act of giving blood. You could call him a blood donation evangelist. “Here at Boeing they make it so easy,” he said as he bites into an oatmeal raisin cookie when his donation is complete. “As a donor, we don’t think about the impact we have, the lives we save. It’s pretty cool when you think with those 100 donations, I’ve saved 300 lives.”

After giving blood, Joe always asks for a bright-colored wrap. That way, he’s a walking testimonial.

The Boeing Company is another stand-out blood donation advocate. Its history with Bloodworks Northwest goes all the way back to 1944 when it was a founding member of then-called King County Central Blood Bank. Today, Boeing supplies the most employee blood donors in the Puget Sound and the Employees Community Fund of Boeing is a generous Bloodworks charitable contributor. Boeing is also a sponsor of the Bloodworks Ball on May 19.

When he considers blood donation, Joe thinks of his family members who have benefited from the Bloodworks contributions he and other local donors have made over the years. And he thinks about the dinner he and his wife are going to have to celebrate his 100 donation milestone later that day.

For now, there’s one last thing Joe Geck does before he leaves the donation center. As he’s walking out, he notices one of his staff headed down the hall. “Have you donated yet?” he asks, “They’re still in there taking donations.” His co-worker hesitates but then he notices the bright green wrap on Joe’s left arm. “Come on,” Joe said, “It’ll just take a couple minutes.” The co-worker takes a few steps toward the donation center, then makes the decision to donate. Joe Geck, the blood donation evangelist just smiles.

His 101st donation is scheduled for June 5.

April 13, 2018 11:58AM
  • David

    Bill Harper’s story is exceedingly well written and very compelling. Strangers helping strangers. That’s the golden rule, isn’t it?

  • Gwen

    This is such a cute article! Well done.

  • Sara

    What about the ban on gay men, even if they are monogamous, take precautions or PrEP? Even considering straight people can have x amount of partners or not practice safe sex?

    • Paige Vogt

      Hi Sara, Since the mid-80s, men who have had sex with men (MSM) have been ineligible to donate blood based on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy. The deferral changed to one year beginning in 2015, but this change still leaves many who want to donate blood unable to do so. Bloodworks and its LGBTQ community partners continue to urge the FDA to change their MSM donation deferral based on testing reliability and the latest medical science to ensure the continued safety of the community blood supply. More information about our support for changing the deferral is on We also provide information on that page about other impactful and inclusive ways to help, including volunteering and donating for research which the FDA deferral does not apply.

  • Gwen P.

    With the new treatments for Hepatitis C, if someone completes the treatment & is “cured”, can they donate?

    • Paige Vogt

      Hi Gwen, Thanks for reaching out. Presently, anyone who has ever tested positive for Hepatitis B, C , or D cannot donate. If you have further questions on this, please feel free to contact our clinical specialist at 206-292-2543.

  • Maggie (Margaret) Herbord

    What is the difference between apheresis platelet, double red cell, and plasma donations? Do all Bloodworks NW locations take all the various types of donations?

    • Paige Vogt

      Hi Maggie, Great question! Whole blood is the traditional way of giving blood. Apheresis is the special donation process that allows you to give just a single much-needed component of your blood (platelets, plasma, or double red cells). During the apheresis donation, all but the needed blood component is returned to the donor. The donation process does take longer, however we offer iPads with Netflix and our staff will take great care of you. All of our 12 donor centers offer apheresis donation.Here is a chart that will help determine the most impactful donation for your blood type. Our team at 800-398-7888 would be happy to answer any questions or find you a time and place to donate.

  • Maggie Herbord

    My family avidly supports blood donation. I have only 6 units till I have donated 💯 units. I often do apheresis donation. I always feel like I’ve done a wee bit to give back to my community. I’m also on the organ donation list, and bone marrow donor list. My first whole blood donation was in my high school, Shoreline HS, at age 26. My Dad took the day off and came and donated with me. After that my Dad took me to a special lunch to commemorate my First Donation! I didn’t go back to school till the following day! I believe I’m at 94 or 95 units donated now! Woo-Hoo!!!😊😁

    • Paige Vogt

      What a sweet story about your first blood donation at 16! Thank you for your longtime commitment and congratulations on approaching your 100 unit milestone. Your generosity has meant so much to local patients.

  • Maggie

    Oops, first was at age 16 in High School. Can’t type Tonight! 😋🤔😏

  • Brian

    I can’t donate blood because I have HH, THE MOST COMMON INHERITED disease among people of Northern European descent. Being an inhereted genetic disease, it IS NOT contagious. It can ONLY be inhereted. I have type “O” blood, so I am a Universal Donor. Yet my blood can’t enter the blood pool. Many other cities & countries use blood from ppl with HH, but not here. When you issue a call for donors when the blood pool is getting low, I cringe. If you accepted blood from HH donors, the so-called ‘Shortage might not exist.
    You’ve thrown away 12+ GALLONS of my blood from therapeutic phlebotomies over 5 yrs.
    Get your record keeping in order, and stop throwing away perfectly good blood from thousands of HH folks.
    Your article speaks of publically-held “Misperceptions”. Look in the mirror about YOUR misperceptions.

    • Paige Vogt

      Hi Brian, Bloodworks does include qualified potential donors with hereditary hemochromatosis in the blood supply using the requirements for our therapeutic phlebotomy process for adding voluntary blood donors to the community blood supply where it is permitted by FDA regulations (21 CFR 630) and professional standards. Our therapeutic specialists at 800-398-7888 (choose option 6 for Doctor’s Orders) can help you with the detailed information and medical paperwork that needs to be filled out and submitted by a physician for review along with next steps. Thank you for your desire to help the community blood supply!

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