ASBP: Navy Flutist Helps Military Blood Program Save Lives
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Navy Flutist Helps Military Blood Program Save Lives

03/14/2017
By Jessica Pellegrini, ASBP Staff Writer
Chief Petty Officer Christina Bayes, a flutist in the U.S. Navy Band, is an avid supporter of the Armed Services Blood Program.
Chief Petty Officer Christina Bayes, a flutist in the U.S. Navy Band, is an avid supporter of the Armed Services Blood Program.
As part of our Women’s History Month celebration, we are featuring several of the influential women of the Armed Services Blood Program who help us achieve our mission of saving lives. Every year, the military blood program is able to save ill or injured service members worldwide; but without the help of these amazing women, it wouldn’t be possible.

On behalf of the entire Armed Services Blood Program, we thank them for their dedication, strength and commitment to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and their families.


Navy Musician Chief Petty Officer Christina Bayes is an avid supporter of the Armed Services Blood Program. Since 2010, she has coordinated 24 blood drives and donated whole blood 15-20 times.

“Chief Petty Officer Bayes has coordinated quarterly blood drives at the Washington Navy Yard for seven years and they are one of our strongest sponsors thanks to her dedication,” said Donna Onwona, ASBP blood donor recruiter for the Armed Services Blood Bank Center at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. “She has made such a significant contribution to our mission and we will be forever grateful for her support.”

Bayes, who has served in the Navy for 17 years, has been a flutist in the U.S. Navy Band since February 2000. She comes from a military family — her father served in the Air Force for 35 years and her mother was a physical therapist for a Veterans Affairs Center for 35 years and an avid blood donor.

“Early in my career, our ceremonial band stood on the runway in Dover, Del., as our shipmates and victims of the USS Cole bombing were brought home in flag-draped caskets,” Bayes said. “As we stood at attention playing our Navy hymn, Eternal Father, each casket was carried with such honor from the plane into the view of their loved ones who waited their return home. I had tears in my eyes and felt so much compassion for those families. I knew that day that I wanted to provide as much support as I could for our military and their families.”

When Bayes learned about the ASBP, she said she immediately knew that being a coordinator was for her.

“I put my heart into it,” she said. “Over the years, I have been humbled by the generosity and dedication of the Navy Yard blood donors. We have a large number of donors who schedule appointments at every drive we host at the Navy Band, and we always put a big sign just outside our building with balloons which draws a good number of walk-in donors.”

One of the special aspects of Bayes’ Washington Navy Yard blood drives is the historic Sail Loft Building that always has the sounds of the Concert Band rehearsing next door flowing through the blood drive which is something that donors and blood drive staff enjoy.

“Over the years, I’ve enjoyed having themes for our blood drives and decorating the space for the occasion,” Bayes said. “One of my favorite drives was a Valentine’s Day theme. We had a donor tree and each donor wrote their name on a heart and then hung the heart on the tree.”

The Washington Navy Yard is also a regular blood drive for the annual Army-Navy Blood Donor Challenge that takes place in the Washington metro area.

“The first year we had it, we had so many donors that we were pulling extra chairs from offices and ordered pizza to give out while donors waited,” she said. “We also had musical combos to play for some entertainment. Many of the musicians in the band are either donors or they volunteer to help with the drives. Our command is happy that we have a space that can accommodate the ASBP team and so many donors.”

Bayes already has another three blood drives on the calendar for 2017, so she’s showing no signs of stopping the Washington Navy Yard blood drives any time soon.

“I am humbled by all of our great donors,” she said. “It’s been an amazing experience and it always makes me feel like I had a tiny part in making a difference for our military families.”

For more information about the Washington Navy Yard blood drives, contact Donna Onwona at donna-lee.onwona.civ@mail.mil or 202-294-6674.

About the Armed Services Blood Program
Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program has served as the sole provider of blood for the United States military. As a tri-service organization, the ASBP collects, processes, stores and distributes blood and blood products to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and their families worldwide. As one of four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, potent blood supply, the ASBP works closely with our civilian counterparts by sharing donors on military installations where there are no military blood collection centers and by sharing blood products in times of need to maximize availability of this national treasure. To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, please visit www.militaryblood.dod.mil. To interact directly with ASBP staff members, see more photos or get the latest news, follow @militaryblood on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Pinterest. Find the drop. Donate.

The Armed Services Blood Program is a proud recipient of the Army Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Public Affairs award for journalism.