Sue Belanger could not have predicted the turn her life would take when her son, Geoff, developed a blood disorder.
The Belangers now both work for the Stanford Blood Center. She as registered nurse in charge of all the mobile drives. He as a donor services document and project manager.
The Milpitas family has stayed working for the blood center for so many years because of their acute awareness of the importance of donating blood.
“In Silicon Valley, only one percent donate blood. That’s a very small amount,” Sue Belanger said. “The problem is you can’t make blood. It really is the gift of life.”
Sue said she started donating blood when her son began receiving transfusions and continued even after the transfusions were done.
Geoff was born with a congenital blood disorder called Diamond Blackfan syndrome and has first hand experience about the importance of collecting blood. He says that is the reason he stays at the blood center and joined his mother in the medical field.
He said he needed a job right out of college and took a position with his mom at Stanford.
“My history and connection to the center convinced me to stay,” he said, adding he has now been with the center for seven years.
The two used to work together in one of the mobile banks, before Geoff moved up to another position.
“We used to work together on the mobiles so we’d be known as the mother-son team,” Sue said. “But now he’s been promoted. I miss it, but he’s doing great.”
Brooke Wilson, communications manager with the blood center, said quite a few of the employees were either personally affected by the need for blood transfusions, or one of their family members were.
“Many feel such a connection for the act of donating and receiving blood,” Wilson said.
She added that the center is always in need of O negative blood type as it can be given to a person with any other blood type.