Donor demand pushes blood drive to airport

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— People in Routt County are so eager to donate blood, the upcoming community blood drive is being moved to a larger location.

"Each time, we get more people," organizer Terry Sherrill said.

She said that at the last blood drive, people had to wait almost an hour. There were 177 people and 40 were turned away.

This time, it has moved to the Steamboat Springs Airport at Bob Adams Field. There, 12 donor beds and five screening stations should be able to handle volunteers more efficiently.

"I apologize for the delay last time," Sherrill said. "This time, we're doing everything we can to accommodate people."

While the drive is a few minutes longer, the wait should be shorter, she said. Although walk-ins are welcome, she encouraged people to make appointments because they do receive priority.

Sherrill also said this is a good time to get on the bone marrow donor registry. Normally, it costs $119 to get into the registry, but because of a federal grant, it is only $25 right now.

"The reason it costs so much is that testing is so much more thorough," she said.

Potential bone marrow donors must fill out the required paperwork and donate only two tablespoons of blood, she said. Donors must be between 18 and 60 years old.

Bone marrow is used to combat a variety of diseases, from leukemia and Hodgkin's disease to severe anemia, Sherrill said.

There is not a shortage of blood right now, Sherrill said, but holiday weekends, such as the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, are usually demanding.

She said she has been pleased that each blood drive is more successful than the last.

"I think people are more aware there's a need and it's something easy they can do to help a lot of people. One person can help three people," she said. "People have had friends and family who have needed blood."

Sherrill said the community has been supportive in logistics. The city of Steamboat Springs is donating the airport space and local grocery stores will donate cookies.

To reach Jennifer Bartlett call 871-4204 or e-mail jbartlett@amigo.net

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