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January is National Blood Donor Month, a campaign started by the American Red Cross in 1970 to promote winter blood donations across the country. According to the Red Cross, blood donations decline in the winter, in part because seasonal illnesses and inclement weather can result in canceled blood drives. This year is no different. According to the relief organization, more than 150 blood drives have already been canceled, which has caused “over 5,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected.” Plus, they said in a Monday press release, the holidays, flu season, and cold weather resulted in “28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December.”
Bonfils Blood Center—Denver’s leading blood donation center, which is part of a 28-state blood center network called Blood Systems—shares a by-the-numbers look at how giving blood can make a big difference not only in Colorado, but throughout the U.S.:
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- In 2016, there were 67,692 Bonfils blood donors, which added up to 142,214 blood donations made in Colorado that year.
- 929 schools, businesses, churches and other community organizations in Colorado held 2,710 Bonfils mobile blood drives in 2017.
- There can be up to about a dozen (or more!) places for Coloradans to donate blood on any given day.
- A single blood donation can help up to three patients.
- It takes over 3,000 blood donations a week for Bonfils to meet patient needs—and to be ready for the unexpected—in Colorado.
If you’re eligible to donate (you can check if you are here), head to one of the Bonfils blood donation locations, which you can find online. Those who are eligible can donate red blood cells six times a year—you have to wait 56 days in between donations—and platelet donors can give up to 24 times a year. Once local needs are met, donations are moved throughout the Blood Systems network to make sure they help those who need it most.