Leanne Buchanan, Hemophilia Foundation of Greater Florida (HFGF) Outreach and Education Nurse
Resides: Winter Springs
Involvement with HFGF: One year
Florida native Leanne Buchanan joined the ranks of the HFGF as Outreach and Education Nurse last August and hit the ground running. New to working with the disease, but with a 30-year career behind her as a practicing nurse, Leanne is thrilled with the chance to help the bleeding disorders community.
“I am loving this opportunity and everyone has been so heart-welcoming to me,” says Leanne, who has resided in Winter Springs for the past 28 years. “In the beginning, I spent several weeks crash-coursing. I feel pretty comfortable that I can answer just about any question.”
Leanne is responsible for half of the Sunshine State, from Ocala south. Missy Zippel, a 40-year plus Foundation mainstay, is responsible for the northern section.
Using Missy as a mentor, Leanne says she has been defining her role since day one. Until the pandemic, she visited patient homes and school districts where she offered training on bleeding disorders.
“Being a nurse in the school district I can say we didn’t know much about bleeding disorders,” she notes. “Hemophilia and bleeding disorders are so specific it makes it difficult, so my mission is to visit all school districts for training. I have been very well received by schools. They are thrilled to have me visit.”
Once on campus, Leanne’s first priority to make sure the kids that need help the most are getting what they need. She trains physical education coaches, nurses and teachers what to look for and how to treat the disorders. She utilized her past knowledge and data as a school nurse to first visit the schools that she knew had the largest number of bleeding disorder students.
Leanne also visits Hemophilia Treatment Centers around the state to introduce the Foundation to people and to try and help them in any way she can.
“I was talking to a mom at Arnold Palmer Hospital who said her child was being turned down by day care because of a bleeding disorder. I told her I would talk to them. She said, ‘You will?’ I will do whatever it takes to make these kids’ lives easier.”
Spreading the word about the work and offerings of the Foundation is another project on her plate. Leanne sent postcards to hematology and oncology offices throughout Central Florida—including Tampa and Clearwater—introducing herself, asking if they had any needs the Foundation could fulfill.
“We need to make sure everybody knows who we are,” she says. “I am surprised how many do not.”
A public health nurse since 1986 spanning a variety of different capacities, Leanne came to the Foundation from the Seminole County School district.
And although she admits to having an affinity toward Italy where she has visited several times, the Sanford-born Leanne loves calling Florida home.
“I wouldn’t live anywhere else besides here.”