Bonfils honors lifesaving partners


Posted on 04/26/2017

It takes tens of thousands of Coloradans to help save or enhance the lives of more than 400,000 patients every year. More than 67,000 Coloradans give blood with Bonfils at least once a year and many hundreds more also deserve credit for their unwavering support.

As part of National Donate Life Month, Bonfils awarded six individuals or organizations a Bonfils Lifesavers award recognizing their tireless efforts to support patients through blood and marrow donations.

Outstanding Blood Drive Partner:

Bonfils depends on community organizations, private businesses and many others who host mobile blood drives to make blood donation convenient all across Colorado. Last year, more than 900 individual hosts held just over 2,600 mobile blood drives helping ensure a safe and steady blood supply is available every day of the year. 

Those mobile blood drives run the smoothest when there is a designated point person -- a liaison who works with Bonfils on logistics and recruits new and returning blood donors.

Jennifer Augustine has taken that role to a new level. As the liaison for the largest current blood drive in downtown Denver, Xcel Energy – Larimer, Jennifer is always seeking out new and creative ways to encourage her co-workers to donate, sharing recipient stories and other testimonials demonstrating the need for blood donations. A donor herself, Jennifer also leads by example.

James Witt accepted the award in Jennifer’s honor.

Outstanding Marrow Program Partner:

Every three seconds someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with a blood cancer and every year, more than 14,000 patients hope for a marrow donor who can make their lifesaving transplant possible. In 2016 alone, Bonfils’ Marrow Program facilitated 32 transplants to patients in Colorado and around the world. 

Last year, Bonfils’ Marrow Program registered more than 2,600 potential donors from across Colorado and Wyoming who at any time may be that match for a patient in need. When a potential donor registers to the Be The Match Registry, a cheek swab sample of their cells is sent in for initial testing and that information is entered into a worldwide database.

When a potential match is identified, that donor must undergo further testing and a physical exam to ensure they are, indeed a match and fit to donate.

Rocky Mountain Urgent Care and Family Medicine has partnered with Bonfils’ Marrow Program since 2010 to ensure that process can be completed in a timely manner and with minimal inconvenience for potential donors as far away as Northern Wyoming and Eastern Nebraska.

Outstanding Healthcare Partner:

Bonfils is proud to partner with about 100 hospitals across Colorado alone who day-in and day-out provide the best in patient care.

In 2016, Bonfils became one of the first blood centers in the country and the first to provide Colorado patients a new kind of platelet product, Cerus INTERCEPT platelets. These pathogen-reduced platelets use a new technology to inactivate bacteria and other potential risks, which is especially crucial for patients who are immuno-compromised. 

Dr. Mary Berg and University of Colorado Hospital share Bonfils’ innovative approach and eagerly worked closely with Bonfils to become the first Colorado hospital to adopt this added layer of safety for patients.

Bonfils looks forward to continuing this partnership to expand these pathogen-reduced platelets more widely across the University of Colorado Health System.

Dr. Ben Galloway Community Partner:

The Dr. Ben Galloway Community Partner Award recognizes community partners whose various contributions to raising awareness for Bonfils Blood Center and the importance of blood donation go above and beyond.

5280 Magazine has generously contributed to Bonfils’ awareness and recruitment efforts through integrated sponsorship support and strategic partnerships. 

Marketing Director Carrie Horn and Account Manager Hannah Smith have played integral roles in identifying and executing opportunities to highlight Bonfils through onsite events, print, digital and social media support. 

Outstanding Volunteer of the Year:

When Rachel Torfin started working at DaVita’s downtown Denver headquarters, she was surprised to learn there was currently no Bonfils blood drive at that location.

Rachel reached out to Bonfils to coordinate what started as three annual blood drives – and through Rachel’s creativity and diligence – those drives have expanded to six per year at DaVita Headquarters, giving employees a convenient opportunity to donate every time they are eligible. 

She has also championed the cause of blood donation with the DaVita Social Responsibility Team, bolstering awareness and participation throughout the company.

Outstanding Philanthropic Partner:

Orangetheory Fitness franchise owners Wendy Skaalerud and Trent Peaker don’t just feel passionate about charitable causes, they motivate their studio members and staff to get involved. 

Orangetheory Fitness first sponsored Bonfils’ annual benefit concert in 2015, but that partnership quickly grew beyond financial support to a studio promotion to compel individuals to donate blood in honor of veterans each year during the week surrounding Veterans Day.

Their integrated support of Bonfils Blood Center serves as a model for corporate philanthropy. It is difficult to tally the total number of lives Orangetheory Fitness has impacted, but their Veterans Day promotion alone over the past two years accounts for more than 450 blood donations resulting in as many as 1,300 or more lives saved.

Thanks to NewsRadio KOA anchor and Bonfils Ambassador Susan Witkin for emceeing the event.