Campus blood drive hits stride

Ron Honn joined an elite club Wednesday morning.

Stacey Hicks, left, a Bonfils phlebotomist, prepares Ron Honn Wednesday morning for a blood donation.
Stacey Hicks, left, a Bonfils phlebotomist, prepares Ron Honn Wednesday morning for a blood donation.

Honn, program manager, Department of Environmental Health and Safety, joined an estimated four percent of the Colorado population who donates blood. Honn was one of the early participants in the annual Halloween campus blood drive that runs through Friday.

Honn sipped water while waiting for Stacey Hicks, phlebotomist, Bonfils Blood Center, to begin the process he has repeated countless times.

“I’ve been doing this since I was 21,” Honn said. “I see blood donation as a way that I can give back to the community.”

That kind of generosity puts Honn in an elite group, according to Solitaire Merrill, community representative, Bonfils Blood Center. Merrill estimates that more than one-third of the Colorado population is eligible to donate but only four percent actually do it.

Merrill was enthusiastically greeting faculty, staff and students who ventured into University Center 116 Wednesday morning.

“We only have a one day supply of O negative,” Merrill said. “We really need people to come in and get our supply back to where it should be, around three to four days.”

By late Wednesday, 46 others had joined Honn. Merrill is hoping for more donations Thursday and Friday as the three-day UCCS blood drive is the largest operated by Bonfils in Colorado Springs and an important part of the healthcare system. The estimated 180 to 190 pints the blood center hopes to collect through Friday afternoon will help more than 500 people in their recovery from surgery, injury or to fight disease.

New to this year’s drive are technological improvements that include donor questionnaires completed on iPads and a new device, Alyx. Alyx collects double the amount of red blood cells and is immediately ready for transfusion after testing. Donors like the Alyx process because fluids are replaced more rapidly, making them feel better, Merrill said. Individuals who are blood type O negative, O positive and A negative  are eligible to provide an Alyx donation.

The campus blood drive continues through 3 p.m. Friday. Walk-in donations will be accepted in UC 116, Merrill said, but she encouraged donors to make an appointment by calling (800) 365-0006 or visiting and using site code A390.

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