ImpactLife and Greater Ottumwa Partners In Progress Celebrate Blood Center’s 50th Anniversary


ImpactLife will hold a ribbon-cutting with Greater Ottumwa Partners In Progress to celebrate the blood center’s 50th Anniversary later today at Quincy Place Mall.

The anniversary ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 3 as part of the Ottumwa Community Blood Drive (11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Quincy Place Mall).

ImpactLife was established in 1974 through the merger of the Scott County (Iowa) and Rock Island County (Illinois) blood banks. Originally named Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, the nonprofit blood provider changed its name to ImpactLife in 2021, reflecting the organization’s growth beyond the region of the Mississippi River valley. Today, ImpactLife provides blood to Ottumwa Regional Health Center and more than 120 hospitals and emergency medical service providers located in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin. The blood center also supports the medical research field and resource sharing partners across the United States. 

ImpactLife is one of a handful of blood providers across the U.S. that have helped develop and introduce the concept of Mixed Reality in blood donation. It’s part of a long-term trend of innovation and technological advances for the blood center. According to Becky Parker, a longtime member of the ImpactLife Donor Services team in southeast Iowa, some of the biggest changes have been:

  • Digital record-keeping instead of dot-matrix printers. When Parker first started working for what was then called Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, staff members would bring a dot matrix printer to every blood drive. “We used pre-printed forms that had to be loaded just exactly right so information would print in the right boxes on the form,” says Parker. Finding forms were misaligned and incorrectly printed was a frequent source of frustration, Parker says.
  • Automated bag rockers instead of tip scales for collection bags. “Back when dinosaurs walked” collection specialists would use tip scales to measure the volume of blood collected with each donation and would need to manually mix anti-coagulant during the donation process. Today, automated rockers (right) mix anti-coagulant and weigh each donation.
  • Electronic Donor History Questionnaire instead of verbal. Before the pre-donation Donor History Questionnaire moved to touch screen computers, staff members would ask all questions in-person. “We read those questions so many times we could recite them all, word for word,” says Parker. Today, donors complete the questionnaire on a touch screen computer and review any follow-up questions with staff. Donors can also use EarlyQ to complete the questionnaire on any computer on the same day they will donate, and then receive a code for staff to scan when they arrive at the Donor Center or mobile blood drive.

Within this fast-paced environment of change, the opportunity for blood donors to help patients in need remains the same. “Blood transfusions provided by volunteer donors are used in settings from the emergency room to oncology, obstetrics, general surgery, and more.” said Lindsay Erhardt-Hansen, Manager – Regional Development. “We are so grateful to the donors, blood drive coordinators, and other volunteers who support our mission.”

Additional donations are urgently needed during the week of July 4 to help keep pace with patient needs and make up for donations lost due to the holiday. The blood center currently has a 2- to 2.5-day inventory of type O-negative and O-positive red blood cells. Platelet donations from all blood types are also greatly needed. 

To schedule an appointment for donation, donors can call (800) 747-5401, schedule online at, or use the ImpactLife mobile app (

To thank those who give blood at this critical time of year, ImpactLife is providing all presenting donors with a voucher to redeem for their choice of an electronic gift card, bonus points to use in the ImpactLife Donor Rewards Store, or an equivalent value donation to Make-A-Wish Iowa through the blood center’s “Good Giving” program.

ImpactLife Donor Rewards (July 2024)

  • Whole blood donation (Donor Centers and mobile blood drives)
    • $20 gift card, $20 donation OR 1,000 points
  • Double red and plasma only donations
    • $25 gift card, $25 donation OR 1,500 points
  • Platelet donations (donors who have given platelets 2+ times previously with ImpactLife)
    • $25 gift card, $25 donation OR 1,500 points
  • Platelet donations (donor’s first or second attempt to ever give platelets with ImpactLife)
    • $50 gift card, $50 donation OR 3,000 points
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