VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System
Rocky Mountain VA hosts community blood drives
With thousands of canceled blood drives across the country in recent months due to the coronavirus disease known as COVID-19, VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System (ECHCS) has partnered with community blood center, Vitalant, to host blood drives at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center (RMR) in Aurora.
On May 20, 2020, the medical center’s first blood drive during the pandemic was coordinated by the ECHCS Emergency Management team as a pilot event to assess donor response and to accommodate the facility’s limited visitor policy. The blood drive was a success, resulting in all 46 appointment slots filled—28 of those were first time donors. This drive alone will go on to help 138 patients, according to Michelle Lowry from Vitalant.
“We thoroughly enjoyed our time at [RMR]. Everyone was super friendly and so appreciative of the drive being hosted on site,” Lowry said. With plenty of interested donors, Lowry said she’s looking forward to the next blood drive scheduled for July 23, 2020 at RMR.
Like many VA facilities across the country, ECHCS is leveraging community resources that stem the shortage of vital blood and blood products. These blood drives exercise VA’s “Fourth Mission” that provide back-up health services to the nation in times of disaster. This joint effort helps VA and the community better prepare for and support Veterans who may need blood or blood products in the near term.
“This partnership with Vitalant is so important right now. Especially with all the current events, blood supply is critically low,” said Eva Gergely, ECHCS Voluntary Services Chief. “By taking an hour out of your day, you will be able to save up to three lives and help out our community and our Veterans.”
ECHCS Voluntary Services plans to coordinate regular blood drives at RMR with the next one scheduled for Thursday, July 23 from 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. by appointment only. To schedule, visit Vitalant's website at https://donors.vitalant.org or call 303.363.2300. RMR Site Code is ‘5720.’
If you are healthy, giving blood is safe and you can donate even if your community is under a stay-at-home order.