Blood drive going for record donations today

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— What if you threw a blood drive and nobody showed up?
That isn't expected to be a problem today when the Yampa Valley Medical Center Auxiliary and Bonfils Blood Center host a community blood drive from 12:30 until 6 p.m. at Steamboat Springs Airport.
Steamboat blood drive organizer Terry Sherrill said she's hoping for another new record today, eclipsing the previous record of 178 healthy units of blood drawn on July 19.
But there was a time, about five years ago, when she first assumed responsibility for the blood drive, that only four people showed up in Steamboat. Bonfils became discouraged, and the future of the local blood drive was uncertain, Sherrill said.
Today, she said the community is responding to a shortage of blood.
"Right now, there's a nationwide shortage of blood that's preventing people from having elective surgery," Sherrill said. "The supplies are really low."
Bonfils supplies all of the blood for the Denver area, as well as locally. That means it must collect 2,300 units of blood every week. But Bonfils spokeswoman Jessica Maitland reports that only 2.5 percent of the population donates blood. Last year, Steamboat and the surrounding area contributed 775 units to the community blood supply.
Sherrill, who is taking reservations at 879-2081, said two of the 12 donor beds at the airport are reserved for walk-ins. As of late Tuesday afternoon, she had taken 120 reservations. Walk-ins are also welcome.
Sherrill has a special reason for taking on the chore of managing the blood drive both her mother and mother-in-law needed large amounts of blood at times in their lives. But Sherrill herself weighs less than the minimum 110 pounds necessary to be a donor.
"I do it in memory of both of them," Sherrill said Tuesday. "My goal is to break the record tomorrow."

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