Local blood donors share their stories

By  | 

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT) -- One in seven people who walk into a hospital will need a blood transfusion.

A single blood donation can save three of those seven people.

“I think people are important,” Karl Martin said. He spent about 30 minutes Monday morning giving whole blood. “It’s a need, I have O negative blood.” Martin is a universal donor, who believes in helping people.

“I’m a detention supervisor for the work release program in Delta,” Martin said.

A program that allows inmates to maintain regular jobs while serving their sentences.

“It prevents somebody who did something wrong from losing their job,” he explained.

Once Martin's donation is taken, the process of breaking down his blood begins. The donation is spun to divide the plasma from red blood cells, platelets, and other clotting factors that can control bleeding.

“The plasma, when we break it off and it’s this pretty orange color, and we can freeze it for up a year,” Sherri Burns, who works with the blood center said.

Blood is also filtered to remove white blood cells. According to the American Red Cross, there are more than 21 million blood components transfused each year.

But none of this would be possible without the people like Martin, who come in as often as they can.

“You help out where you can. There’s a lot of things I can’t do to help people, but this [giving blood] is something I can do,” he said.

A few feet away, Perry Rupp is going through apheresis.

“I did whole blood eight weeks ago but I haven’t done apheresis for about 8 months,” Rupp said.

The process takes longer because the blood is filtered during donation. This allows blood banks to collect more of a single component—like red blood cells or platelets.

“I know it does a lot of good for people, and I might need it myself one day," Rupp said.

He's already scheduled his next donation.