Annual blood drive nets 187 pints, helps 561 people

Count Dracula did not make a surprise visit to at the annual campus blood drive Oct. 29-31 at the University Center.

Instead, it was all business at the University Center as more than 200 faculty, staff and students participated in the 25th Annual UCCS Campus Blood Drive. A total of 187 pints were collected, according to Solataire Merrill, community donor representative, Bonfils Blood Center. Those donations will help about 561 people. Some inquired about donating but were unable to complete the process.

“This was the first time that I have ever donated blood but it won’t be my last.,” Ida Dilwood, director, Disability Services and University Testing, said. “I had such a great experience with the Bonfils staff that I can’t wait until I’m eligible to donate again. I’ve always wanted to donate blood ever since by oldest son needed a blood transfusion when he had heart surgery.”

For the first time, Bonfils Blood Center, Denver, was responsible for the blood collection. Previously, the university worked with Memorial Hospital, switching to Bonfils when Memorial closed its blood bank. This year’s drive was co-chaired by Gayanne Scott, executive director, Resource Management Division, and Dilwood. The Black Student Union served as event co-sponsor.

“The transition from Memorial to Bonfils was almost effortless and Bonfils has a new favorite campus,” Scott said. “Bonfils could not get over the friendliness of our students, staff, faculty and administration.”

For most, the change in service providers went unnoticed. But the all-business Bonfils staff dressed in blue jumpsuits or traditional hospital attire were in sharp contrast to Memorial staff who often came in Halloween-themed costumes. The costume tradition began in the 1980s when former accounting supervisor Juan Garcia often dressed as Dracula in an effort to encourage others to donate. Scott is already recruiting for someone to play the Dracula role for next year’s Halloween drive.

She and Dilwood are also looking for a date in late January or early February for another blood drive.

Does having Snow White or N.Y. Yankee great Joe Dimaggio at the business end of a needle change the experience of donating blood? Probably not.

“Remember, you saved three lives today,” Merrill reminded donors as the drive concluded Wednesday afternoon.

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