Mar 012007
 
Authors: Bob Shipton

To combat the depleted supply of blood donations in the winter months, Bonfils Blood Center is giving an incentive to prospective donors by offering a trip for two to Secrets Capri Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

The six-day, five-night getaway is being provided by CBS4 and the winner will be announced today.

To be eligible to win, blood donations must have been made between Feb. 5 and Feb. 28.

Julie Scott, public relations for Bonfils Blood Center, said the prize helped to entice plenty of Colorado donors.

“We had a pretty good month,” Scott said.

In February, Bonfils collected 29,000 units and hasn’t yet tallied donations from the last week of February.

“Thousands of blood donors are needed each week to support patients in our community,” said Jessica Maitland, vice president of marketing and community operations, in a statement.

“The frequent snowfall this winter has kept some blood donors away, but the need for donations is ever present. Our community blood supply is still struggling to return to normal following last December’s blizzards.”

Bonfils centers were forced to close for three-and-a-half days during the snowstorms in December, missing out on about 2,400 units of blood. Bonfils estimates that blood donations decline by 20 percent during winter months due to holiday activities, bad weather and the cold and flu season.

“We take a bit of a hit anytime there’s bad weather,” Scott said. “Adverse road conditions really impact the amount of people that can come out.”

Sponsored drives are a common way for Bonfils to encourage donors to come out during the slower parts of the year. In addition to supplying the trip to Mexico, CBS4 also sponsors the Bonfils/Denver Broncos Drive for Life. Scott said that the support of local businesses and organizations is key to the success of the blood center.

Bonfils Blood Center, which supplies blood to more than 200 healthcare facilities, is one of only eight centers in the nation to supply blood to the military. They must collect at least 4,350 blood donations weekly in order to meet demand and prepare for unexpected events such as Hurricane Katrina or Rita.

“Our community is great at stepping up and helping out other communities,” Scott said.

If you are in good general health and haven’t gotten a tattoo or piercing in the last 12 months or traveled to a malarial risk region of the world than you should be eligible to donate blood.

The Bonfils mobile bus will be back on the CSU campus on March 28 and a blood drive is scheduled in the Lory Student Center for March 29 and 30.

You can visit bonfils.org to schedule an appointment or find a location nearest you.

Staff writer Bob Shipton can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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The Colorado Marrow Donor Program

The Colorado Marrow Donor Program contributes to the management of marrow and stem cell transplants and offers testing for potential donors to join the National Marrow Donor Program.

Marrow and stem cell transplants are treatment options for some patients with blood-related diseases, including leukemia and aplastic anemia. Only 25 percent of patients can find a match within their immediate family, forcing most to search for an unrelated donor.

Tissue types are genetic, so patients are more likely to find a donor from a similar ethnic background. However, only 25 percent of the NMDP registry is comprised of ethically diverse donors. Because of the small amount of donors, it is difficult for an ethnic patient to find a match. Hispanic, African-American, Asian and Native American donors are in high demand. The CMDP is looking for volunteers to coordinate ethnic-focused marrow registration drives at their churches, schools, businesses or other community organizations.

Health requirements for CMDP are slightly different from blood donations.

These are some of the qualifications:

/Donors need to be in good general health and between the ages of 18 and 60.

/Donors remain part of NMDP until the age of 61.

/Donors are available to any patient searching NMDP.

/A donation occurs only when a matched patient is identified and the donor completes further testing.

/Donors previously tested (even in another state) are encouraged to update their address with CMDP or NMDP.

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