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Coloradans come out to donate blood on Christmas Day

Vitalant said nationwide, there have been around 6,000 fewer donations than a normal December.

DENVER — There's not many places open on Christmas Day, yet there's a few spots where you could expect to always see people. 

That place, is a blood donation center. 

“I like it here you know? I meet some good people, I work with some good people, so we all get a long and I really like it here," said Jaquela Ashley, who was working inside of Vitalant's Denver blood donation center on Christmas. “You know you do something for the community...it feels good, we’re definitely in the need of it for sure."

Brooke Way, spokesperson for Vitalant, said this December nationwide, there have been around 6,000 fewer donations compared to a normal December. 

"So every year, the holiday season is definitely one of our toughest times for blood donations. A lot of people aren't thinking about coming in and donating blood when they're traveling for the holidays or spending time with their families, or it's cold and flu season coupled with the pandemic right now," she said. 

However, Coloradans came out strong to donate blood on Christmas Day, and for some, it's a tradition. 

Credit: Luis de Leon
Jaquela Ashley works at Denver's blood donation center on Christmas Day.

“Somebody needs the platelets! Somebody needs 'em," said William, a man donating blood Saturday. 

The 80 year old is nearing his 97th gallon in total donations, which staff on site said has been the result of more than 700 visits. 

It's hard to say how many holiday visits that may have taken. 

“Boy that’s a tough one I don’t know – lots of 'em!” he said. “It’s great – I’m glad doing something for somebody."

Sitting next to William, was Phil Cannon from Aurora, who was celebrating Christmas Day with his family members over Zoom while donating. 

“I encourage people to donate,” he said. “It’s a great habit to form I think … and some day it could be you that is in need."

Credit: Luis de Leon
Behind the decorated display at Vitalant's Denver blood donation center, sits Phil Cannon, who is talking to his family over zoom while donating.

Vitalant's Way said they try to make up the drop in donations during January, when it's National Blood Donor Month.

"And there's a reason for that because we want to remind people the importance of donating blood right after the holidays and making sure that people remember patients see blood every single day throughout the year, not just during the holidays Patient needs can't take a holiday. They can't take a break. They need blood transfusions on a regular basis or for trauma or emergencies. So many different reasons, and that's why we really do try to make up for those lost donations after the holiday season," she said. 

Until January 7th, anyone that donates blood at Vitalant's Denver location will receive a long sleeve t-shirt as a thank you gift. 

"It's one of our ways to thank everyone who come out, especially during the holidays. We do have several very loyal donors who come visit us on Christmas Day. That's such a huge, selfless thing for someone to do, come to our center and give blood during the Christmas," Way said.

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