Lauren Coronado: A Lifesaving Calling
As a Hoxworth employee, Lauren Coronado spends most of her days interacting with blood donors, expertly sticking veins, and handling blood and platelets.
It’s hard work, she says—"There are many mentally and physically exhausting days!”—but like many Hoxworth employees, she thrives on building relationships with her donors and finding out their reasons for donating.
“I love getting to know the donors,” she says. “They share the same inspiration we have to help others to the best of our ability.”
Lauren’s inspiration and motivation for working at Hoxworth is personal and meaningful. She credits blood donors, and the people who collect and process those donations, with saving her grandmother’s life many years ago.
“My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 5 years old,” she recalls. “She went through surgery, chemo, radiation, and transfusions. I spent as much time with her as I could whether it was being there through chemo or transfusions or holding a trash can in front of her as she got sick from treatments.”
While chemotherapy and radiation can be extremely effective at destroying life-threatening cancer cells, those same treatments can also wreak havoc on healthy cells within the body, especially red blood cells and platelets. Every day, thousands of patients across the country require transfusions of healthy blood cells to continue fighting against cancer. Lauren’s grandmother was one of those patients.
“For over a year, the only time I saw any sort of color in my grandmother’s face was after her transfusions,” she says. After many months of grueling treatment, Lauren’s grandmother was finally declared cancer-free and is still in remission today.
“My grandmother now is living life the best she can,” Lauren says. “She is 72 years old now, and lives in a nursing home in Texas close to my aunt. And if I wasn’t for a selfless act of kindness from caring strangers, from blood donors, I don’t know for sure that my grandmother would still be alive today.”
Seeing how impactful blood donations were for her grandmother was a huge inspiration for Lauren to become a blood donor as well as pursue a career in blood banking—but phlebotomy is also a family affair. “Growing up my mother was a nurse and then switched to doing phlebotomy,” Lauren recalls. “She, along with my grandmother, are the main reasons I pursued this career.”
Lauren moved to Cincinnati in 2018 and has been with Hoxworth Blood Center for just over a year, but her works has already impacted the lives of hundreds, maybe even thousands, of patients locally. It’s not the easiest job in the world, she says, “but the feeling of achievement and accomplishment at the end of the day is worth every second of it.”
Being part of an incredible team also helps, she adds. “One thing I want everyone to know is how much enjoy working with my coworkers. We all have different personalities and opinions, but put us all together and we form a family. The way we work together is nothing like I’ve experienced before!”
So if you come to a Hoxworth donor center, expect to get to know a tight-knit and passionate team of phlebotomist and donor care technicians. And don’t worry if you’re nervous: “I personally do not like needles or blood, but knowing that my donation can save up to three lives each time helps me get through the process every single time,” Lauren says. “To those that donate, I would like to say thank you—and to think about the lives you can save from just one single donation!”