DENVER (CBS4)– One person’s donation of blood can help save the lives of up to three people.

“Giving blood is easy,” said Bonfils Blood Center Marketing Specialist Brooke Benham. “It’s a rewarding way to pay it forward and just to give back.”

Donating blood takes about an hour but processing the blood takes several steps.

“I think so many people don’t realize how many steps are involved in making a blood transfusion available for a patient who needs it,” said Bonfils Blood Center spokeswoman Jessica Maitland.

Once the blood is collected it’s packed up and carefully carried to processing down the hall. Once there it’s unpacked and verified then rolled to another checkpoint.

“We’re basically taking a whole blood unit, we’re making it into components and getting it ready for distribution,” said Maitland.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

That process starts with a centrifuge which spins the blood into plasma and red blood cells. The plasma is taken out.

A preservative is then added to the red blood cells so they can be used for up to 42 days.

“We have a safety checkpoint at virtually every step of the way,” said Maitland.

Samples from the original donation are tested to ensure safety. Near the end of the process white blood cells are filtered out and then the blood is boxed up where it will be sent where it’s needed.

“We were the first to provide blood after 9-11 in New York,” said Maitland.

From start to finish it takes at least 10 people and plenty of equipment to manufacture a blood donation.

While giving blood is easy it’s a complicated job making sure it’s safe enough to save lives.

Bonfils Blood Center is a nonprofit and depends on donations to conduct its important work.

For the second year Bonfils will stage a benefit concert featuring Gavin DeGraw. It’s at the Paramount Theater on April 22 at 7:30 p.m.



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