Rebecca Lenahan, a Moffat County High School senior, donates blood Tuesday during Bonfils Blood Center's visit to the high school. Bonfils, based in Denver, also held its blood drive at the Center of Craig, drawing blood for individuals across Colorado.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Rebecca Lenahan, a Moffat County High School senior, donates blood Tuesday during Bonfils Blood Center's visit to the high school. Bonfils, based in Denver, also held its blood drive at the Center of Craig, drawing blood for individuals across Colorado.

Residents support Craig Community Blood Drive by donating

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Phlebotomist Mishelle Rivera, left, draws blood from Craig resident Robin Brumback on Tuesday at the Center of Craig. The visit was Brumback's eighth to the blood drive.

For Moffat County High School junior Holly Bergman, 17, donating blood for the first time was easy. She managed to pump out a pint of blood in 13 minutes Tuesday afternoon.

"There was no trouble," she said afterwards. "The only trouble, I guess, was they couldn't find a vein at first. But after that, it was all pretty easy.

Bergman was among 40 students and faculty who donated blood at Moffat County High School as part of the Craig Community Blood Drive. People also had a chance to donate blood at the Center of Craig during the day.

Phlebotomists and technicians from Bonfils Blood Center, based in Denver, helped administer the blood drive.

Senior Courtney Edington, 18, normally isn't afraid of needles. But the only bad part of donating, she said, was having a needle stuck in her arm.

After that, she was able to go with the flow.

"I was really nervous at first," she said "but it wasn't that bad.

"It makes me feel good to help out other people."

Phlebotomist Desiree Robinson was the team leader at the Center of Craig. She said the day was packed with donors who came in to give blood, and for Bonfils, that was a good sign.

"We've had a pretty packed schedule," she said. "For us, being busy is a good thing."

Robinson has worked as a phlebotomist for three years.

She said she coordinated a blood drive at her previous job and decided she wanted to become more involved.

The hardest part of being a phlebotomist isn't dealing with blood, she said.

"You won't make it if you're squeamish," she said. "You have to be able to deal with people throwing up and their reactions after they first donate. But the worst part is probably having to lift up the cases (of blood) if it's snowing outside."

Helping people is what drove Robinson to a career in blood.

"There's always a need for blood, whether it's for accidents, surgeries or illness," Robinson said. "The only replacement for blood is blood. There's no synthetic that can be transfused."

At the Center of Craig, Alicia Baker was in the donor's chair for the third time.

"I've done it before, just to help people who need it," she said. "Needles don't bother me, and every time I've done it, I've felt great."

As Baker prepared to have the needle inserted, she said she wasn't nervous.

"So far so good," she said as she had iodine rubbed on her arm. "But, we'll see when I'm done."

Donor technician Pamela White said donating blood usually takes 30 minutes, and having blood drawn usually takes 10 to 15 minutes.

After the blood from Craig was gathered, it was sent to the Bonfils Blood Center in Lowry.

Once in Lowry, the blood will go through a series of tests before being sent to hospitals, phlebotomist Joseph Ibarra said.

"We run 13 different tests," Ibarra said. "We test it for STDs and three types of HIV, Hepatitis A, B, C and D."

Robinson said 99 percent of the donated blood would be used.

"Most of the blood stays in Colorado, and it's used to replenish hospital's supplies," Robinson said. "If there's an abundance, some of it might make it out of state."

The Blood Center keeps a week's supply in storage in case of emergency, Robinson said.

"Only about 6 percent of the population donates blood," Robinson said. "And that 6 percent provides all the blood for the rest of Colorado. The need is growing with the growing population."

Robinson said the blood drive in Craig would net the Blood Center 60 to 120 pints of blood.

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