43 peo­ple give blood at drive

Daily Camera (Boulder) - - Local - By Sophia Mon­caleano

The non­profit Vi­ta­lant held a blood drive Fri­day at the Louisville Recre­ation and Senior Cen­ter, urg­ing res­i­dents to give in their com­mu­nity and help the lives of peo­ple in need.

The drive saw 43 donors be­tween 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Each do­na­tion was tested for COVID-19 an­ti­bod­ies to find po­ten­tial con­va­les­cent plasma donors.

“Pa­tients need blood ev­ery day,” said Jenna Valaika, Vi­ta­lant Donor Re­cruit­ment Rep­re­sen­ta­tive. “We need to col­lect over 3,000 units of blood per week to keep up with Colorado’s typ­i­cal blood need for

pa­tients.”

Ac­cord­ing to Vi­ta­lant Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Man­ager, Liz Lam­bert, con­va­les­cent plasma dona­tions are es­pe­cially needed now to help pa­tients cur­rently bat­tling the virus dur­ing the pan­demic.

Peo­ple who have tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19 in the past and have since re­cov­ered or have tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19 an­ti­bod­ies are be­ing en­cour­aged to go through the qual­i­fi­ca­tion process to see if they can do­nate con­va­les­cent plasma. This can be com­pleted at vi­ta­lant.org/ Covidres­cueteam.

“Donors whose blood tests pos­i­tive for an­ti­bod­ies can help a COVID-19 pa­tient with their plasma while their other blood com­po­nents could help a trauma vic­tim, can­cer pa­tient or some­one with an­other se­ri­ous med­i­cal con­di­tion,” said Lam­bert in an email.

Lam­bert stated blood donors are in­creas­ingly needed at do­na­tion cen­ters and com­mu­nity blood drives to make up for the drop-off of thou­sands of dona­tions na­tion­wide. Many can­celed on-cam­pus high school and col­lege blood drives due to COVID19 re­stric­tions have con­trib­uted to this short­fall.

One unit of blood do­nated from a per­son can help three peo­ple, as the blood is di­vided into three parts, ac­cord­ing to Valaika. Blood has a 42-day shelf life and must be sent in for test­ing be­fore use, so they must con­stantly re­plen­ish the amount col­lected.

There is a cur­rent ur­gent need for O-neg­a­tive blood dona­tions, the uni­ver­sal blood type used in emer­gen­cies, but all other blood types are needed as well.

“One of the great things I’ve seen through this pan­demic is that peo­ple are re­ally will­ing to come out and do­nate,” said Valaika. “They wear their mask and be pro­tected, wipe their hands off and get their tem­per­a­ture taken. It’s been a re­ally great show­ing in the state of Colorado for peo­ple com­ing out to sup­port blood do­na­tion and re­al­iz­ing that it’s es­sen­tial all the time.”

Blood dona­tions were spaced out in 15-minute in­cre­ments to keep a steady flow of peo­ple com­ing in and out of the cen­ter. To en­sure the safety of donors and staff, ar­eas were cleaned be­tween ev­ery donor, chairs were spaced six feet apart and face cov­er­ings or masks were re­quired.

One of the donors on Fri­day, Pa­tri­cia Camell, be­lieves it’s im­por­tant for peo­ple to come out and give blood. When asked how many times she has do­nated, she stated she couldn’t even be­gin to count but has al­ready hit the five gal­lon mark.

“I think it’s just im­por­tant for us to be able to give to our com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially now in a time where it is hard for us to vol­un­teer in other ac­tiv­i­ties,” said Camell. “This is a great thing to give for our com­mu­nity.”

The next blood drive at the Louisville Recre­ation and Senior Cen­ter will be on Dec. 4 and ap­point­ments to any Vi­ta­lant blood drive or do­na­tion cen­ter can be made at vi­ta­lant.org or by call­ing 303-363-2300.

“Vi­ta­lant is grate­ful for blood drive hosts like this that make blood drives more con­ve­nient for more Coloradans in com­mu­ni­ties such as Louisville,” said Lam­bert in an email. “The clos­est Vi­ta­lant do­na­tion cen­ters are in Boul­der and West­min­ster, so or­ga­ni­za­tions who host blood drives play an es­pe­cially cru­cial role in help­ing en­sure ev­ery pa­tient need can be met ev­ery day.”

Photos by Ti­mothy Hurst / Staff Pho­tog­ra­pher

Ph­le­botomist Kai­ley Lusher ex­plains the blood do­na­tion process with donor Bar­bara Bar­reca be­fore con­duct­ing the do­na­tion dur­ing a blood drive at the Louisville Recre­ation and Senior Cen­ter on Fri­day in Louisville.

Vi­ta­lant donor re­cruit­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jenna Valaika, left, checks the tem­per­a­ture of a donor dur­ing a blood drive at the Louisville Recre­ation and Senior Cen­ter on Fri­day in Louisville.

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