Not all heroes wear capes. In fact, the most overlooked and underrated heroes wear civilian clothes and a cotton ball, Band-Aid and colored band at the crook of their elbow.
They are blood donors. Though they may not get noticed on the street, they certainly save lives. Without them, hospitals would not be able to carry out the lifesaving work they do on a daily basis.
100 hospitals in Colorado alone require 3,000 blood donors per week to meet the needs of all their patients. Each donor can give a pint of blood at a time, so that means 375 gallons of blood are essential to saving lives every week.
Bonfils Blood Center, founded in 1943 by philanthropist Helen Bonfils was the first blood center in Colorado. Before that, the closest blood banks were in Kansas City and Dallas, and could take too long to reach the patient in need.
Bonfils is a nonprofit and relies on volunteers to help them save lives. Last year, more than 67,000 Coloradans donated over 17,000 gallons of blood.
But their mission is never complete. They need donors to donate at least three times a year to prevent critical blood shortages, but a healthy blood donor can donate up to six times per year.
Though the fear of a needle might keep some away, regular donors say it is well worth the momentary discomfort.
“I didn’t start giving blood regularly until I was probably 40, but I wish I had started sooner,” Bonfils donor Joyce Aguirre said. “It’s something that I can give of myself and it gives life. A lot of people really need blood, and I want to help those people. Anybody can do but not so many people like to do it, even though it’s really important.”
If you are over 16 years of age and in good health, you can start giving blood right away. Bonfils even changed their tattoo policy in January, allowing those who have been tattooed at a state licensed parlor to give blood without waiting 12 months.
Click here to see a full list of eligibility requirements.
Many of us wish we could do more to help those in need, but are unsure how to do it. Giving blood takes just 30 minutes out of your day, and you can walk away knowing you saved someone’s life.
Schedule an appointment here or at (303) 363-2300, then head to the Bonfils Boulder Community Donor Center at 3113 28th Street (near Valmont) Tuesday through Saturday and help save a life. Or give at a Bonfils community blood drive!
All photos courtesy of Bonfils Blood Center.