More than 200 turn out for blood drive

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— Some 15 years ago, Steamboat local Kay Wagner was called to give blood and it was an emergency.

At the time, the city's hospital had little long-term blood storage and a local woman, who lost a considerable amount of blood while giving birth, needed a pint. Being a regular donor to the walk-in blood bank, doctors knew Wagner's blood type matched that of the new mother, so they gave her a call.

"I got the neatest letter (from the woman)," Wagner fondly recalled with a few tears. "It was pretty cool."

On Tuesday, Wagner was in a blood donor chair at the Steamboat Springs Airport donating a pint of blood for the Bonfils Blood Center during the Steamboat Community Blood drive.

Though emergency donations aren't nearly as common today, Wagner said the blood she donates still will help someone the same way her donation did some 15 years ago.

"If you were in an accident or a member of your family was, you would need the blood," Wagner said.

Terry Sherrill, blood drive coordinator, said 210 people a full lot signed up to give blood Tuesday. That was a sigh of relief after only half the chairs were filled last Thursday for the six-hour donation period.

"On Friday, 70 people called and made appointments," Sherrill said.

By Tuesday, all the chairs were filled and most walk-ins were being turned away.

"It's running real smoothly," Sherrill said Tuesday afternoon.

The blood will go to the blood bank in Denver, where all the donations in the state are processed. Some will come back to Steamboat, where Yampa Valley Medical Center stores 40 pints.

"I love my job," said Tennisia Littleton, who was the Bonfils supervisor for the blood drive. "Just the satisfaction of knowing we are helping people and saving lives."

Littleton came to Steamboat from Denver to run the blood drive with a 15-person crew and a goal of collecting 217 pints. That looked achievable by Tuesday afternoon.

Only one person on Tuesday registered for bone marrow donations for a local woman, but that topped off the 89 who signed up to donate on Saturday, Sherrill said.

Safeway and City Market donated cookies for the event and City Market even sent over a few employees on the clock to give blood.

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