SunCoast Blood Bank Celebrates 70 Years

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SunCoast Blood Bank Celebrates 70 Years

Valentine’s Day marks anniversary

Sarasota, FL – For the Cowles Family, Valentine’s Day means much more than the traditional time to exchange flowers and candy with loved ones.  Eleven years ago, on Valentine’s Day Bob suffered a ruptured thoracic aneurysm, a health crisis that had him fighting for his life in minutes. Within the hour, Bob was admitted to Sarasota Memorial Hospital undergoing 12 hours of emergency surgery, requiring 69 units of blood and platelets.  Bob credits his survival to the first responders on the scene within minutes, the emergency department at Doctors Hospital, the gifted surgeons at Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH), nurses, technicians and, the local donors who provided him with the gift of blood and platelets.


Every year Bob and his wife Jackie commemorate this very special day by delivering cakes to the surgeons, first responders and SunCoast Blood Bank.  SunCoast provides 100% of the blood products used at Doctors Hospital and SMH as well as 8 other hospitals in four counties.


February 14, 2019 also marks the 70th anniversary of SunCoast Blood Bank, one of the oldest existing nonprofits in the community. O.K. Fike and Dr. Millard White founded the Lower West Coast Blood Bank, now known as SunCoast Blood Bank, in 1949. They planted the seeds of a humanitarian idea that would blossom over seven decades. Although the name has changed, the guiding principles of remaining an independent, local, healthcare provider, governed by a local board and local management has remained intact. For 70 years, tens of thousands of dedicated volunteers have provided the critical, lifesaving gift of blood to local hospitals and patients. In 1949 the Blood Bank collected 551 pints of blood, now called “units.” Today, SCBB operates four donor centers, and more than 1,300 blood drives are held annually. The success of the organization rests completely on the generosity of volunteer donors.


The official recognition of the blood bank’s anniversary will take place at a breakfast on February 21 where high-gallon donors, volunteers and other community supporters will be recognized.  SunCoast will also be honored with proclamations from the Sarasota City Council and County Commission at the event.



About SCBB – SunCoast Blood Bank (SCBB) is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization providing a reliable supply of safe blood products and services to our community for 69 years.  SCBB provides 100 percent of the blood products and services for Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System, Manatee Memorial Hospital, Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, Complex Care Hospital of Ridgelake, Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Sarasota, North Port Emergency Room, Fawcett Memorial Hospital of Port Charlotte, Englewood Community Hospital and DeSoto Memorial Hospital. Recognized for its outstanding service the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce honored SCBB as the 2017 Non-profit of the Year.  SCBB participates in cancer treatment programs, research and provides therapeutic services at the hospitals it serves. For SCBB donor locations and more information, visit or call 1-866-97-BLOOD.

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