Feb 282012
Authors: Nicolle Fagan

Dizziness. Disorientation. Blood loss. By themselves, these words are a medical problem waiting to happen, but they are also the symptoms of a donor who willingly gave up their blood to save a life.

On Tuesday Colorado State University received a 40 Years of Saving Lives Award by Jennifer Davis, business development manager of Bonfils Blood Center, in honor of the decades upon decades of participation in blood drives.

Bonfils Blood Drive partnered with the university 40 years ago, and the success of the pairing is obvious. So far 15,000 units of blood have been donated (which means 15,000 people have stepped up and given blood), resulting in saving the lives of more than 45,000 people.

“To have an organization partner with Bonfils for four decades is something spectacular,” said Jessica Maitland, vice president of marketing and community operations for Bonfils Blood Center. “The students, staff and faculty at CSU never cease to amaze me, and the dedication from the entire community is what makes this partnership so strong.”

In appreciation for the years of donation, Bonfils also awarded certificates of appreciation to the CSU Women’s Association and CSU Premedica.

“It is rewarding to see young people come in and give blood,” said Colleen McAuliffe, a representative from the CSU Women’s Association. The organization, which focuses on raising scholarship money and performing community service, provided home-made treats to the people who donated blood.

It takes sponsors and volunteers to run the drives, but the donors who come out to contribute blood are deserving of appreciation too.

“It is a great way to give back to the community,” said John Ramsey, sophomore mathematics major. Having been a patient who needed blood before, he makes it a point to donate when he can. “The best part is knowing that I did something that could save a life down the road.”

In order to give blood, there are some basic requirements that must be met by the donor.

“Every donor must be at least 16-years-old, weigh 110 pounds and be in good general health,” said Dianna Hemphill, public relations specialist from Bonfils Blood Center. “Donations typically take about an hour from start to finish.”

Essentially, a donor can walk in and fill out a health questionnaire. Once completed, the individual is given a mini-physical. If the person is deemed eligible, they are taken to the donation area. There are three different types of donations collected: plasma, platelets and red cells. Each one helps a specific patient’s needs, such as a cancer patient needing platelets.

The donation only takes approximately 10 minutes to get a whole sample. Afterward, donors are encouraged to drinks lots of juice and eat sugary treats to replenish what was just extracted.

“The best part [of blood drives] has to be the snacks,” said Crysta Woerpel, freshman animal science major.

CSU hosts 15 bloods drives each year. If you interested in donating in the future, Bonfils Blood Center returns March 6, March 19, April 25 and May 14.

Collegian writer Nicolle Fagan can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Little known facts about Blood Drives (provided by Bonfils):

  • Only about 4 percent of eligible Coloradans donate blood
  • Every two seconds in the U.S. someone is in need of a blood transfusion
  • Whole blood can only be stored for 42 days and whole blood donations can be given every 56 days
  • Bonfils conducts 13 different tests on each donation given to ensure safety
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