Drive to help others motivates blood donors

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

Veterans and novices lined up to give blood on Tuesday morning.
�I�ve been donating since I was 18,� said Toni Blea, 77.
�That�s almost 60 years,� she said.
Phlebotomist Tech 1, Samuel Stauffer figured that was at least 10 gallons of blood donated to help others.
Blea laughed, adding, �That probably means one of every 10 New Mexicans have some of my blood.�
Blea has her donating down to a system that includes rising early and bringing a book to read to pass the time.
Another donor, David Aragon said he has been donating blood for the last 16 years.
�It helps others. There are people who have been in accidents, or are sick and they need blood.�
He estimates he�s donated at least five gallons.
Amber Durham, a first time donor, was eventually smiling and laughing with technicians, despite a grimace, when the needle first entered her arm.
A visit to Tucumcari usually brings in 35 to 40 units of blood, said Lora Uebelhart, donor recruitment representative for United Blood Services.
They serve 47 hospitals in New Mexico and several in states bordering northern New Mexico, she said.
On Tuesday morning, they pulled up to the Post Office building in a large van that�s chock full of cots, computers, and medical equipment. About an hour later, the staff was set up in a room at the Post Office and ready for donors.
The crew visits Tucumcari about every four months because the city has a lot of donors who are double red cell donors, Uebelhart said.
�In a traditional blood donation, donors give whole blood�which consists of red cells, plasma and platelets. With the automated process called double red cell donation, donors can give just red cells�but two units of red cells�and that�s the component of blood that is in the greatest demand,� according to literature from United Blood Services.
Aragon is a double red cell donor. �It�s not any different,� he said.
Traditional donation takes about 45 minutes and the double red cell donation takes about an hour to 1 1/2 hours, Gallegos said.
Included in the donation process is an initial interview to learn about a donor�s medical history and current health, Gallegos said.
One of the perks of donating Tuesday included a first aid kit.
But donors also can get the results of their cholesterol test online. About seven days after a donor�s visit, the cholesterol results are available online at