Save Lives Two Ways: Give Blood, Buckle Up

April 18, 2017 - Statewide Safety - On July 13, 2012, Colorado resident Dan Richmond was just a half mile from home, driving his truck to pick up his pregnant wife and bring her to a wedding rehearsal.

 He was suddenly hit head-on by another vehicle, and his injuries from the crash were so grave that doctors had to use 121 units of donated blood to save his life.

Media can access photos of Dan and his journey here:

As part of April as National Donate Life Month, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), DaVita and Bonfils Blood Centers hosted a blood drive today to raise awareness of the need for blood donations, while encouraging Coloradans to reduce that need by buckling up.

“There are no words to actually describe my thanks to the individuals who donated blood,” said Richmond. “Think about the person sitting next to you, think about yourself, think about a family member — events happen that are completely beyond your control. You’re going to give someone much like me the opportunity to see their kids grow up.”

It can take more than 100 units of blood for doctors to save a single car crash victim — and most often, it’s unbuckled crashes that inflict the most serious trauma. Seat belt use in Colorado is among the lowest in the country — ranking 39th in seat belt use nationwide — while traffic fatalities have increased 24 percent in the last two years. This makes the already ever-present need for blood and tissue donation even more important.

Bonfils, Colorado’s largest blood center, reports that every week, Colorado needs more than 3,000 volunteer donors each week to ensure an adequate blood supply is ready at all times to care for crash victims, as well as surgeries, cancer and blood disorder treatments and other everyday medical needs. That’s more than 425 donations per day.

“This blood drive is a reminder of how serious and tangible the consequences of not practicing safe driving behaviors are,” said CDOT Executive Director Shailen Bhatt. “Buckling up is the easiest, most immediate way to make an impact and lower injuries and fatalities on our roads.”

In 2016, on average, one unbuckled person died almost every other day on Colorado roadways.

The blood drive, held outside DaVita headquarters in Downtown Denver, expects to collect approximately 45 units from 45 donors — potentially saving 135 lives. Each donation may help just one trauma patient, but the other components of each donation could help up to two more patients in other ways. DaVita employees and representatives from CDOT and Colorado State Patrol participated.

“There are few ways an individual can make a lifesaving impact with such a small commitment of time,” Mountain Division President for Bonfils Blood Center Anne Burtchaell said. “The second it takes to buckle up could save your life. The hour you spend giving blood could help save or enhance up to three other lives.”

Donor and DaVita employee Linda Hofreiter said that the issue at hand was an important one. Linda was in a skydiving accident in 1984 near Colorado Springs. Both parachutes failed on her descent and she crash landed. She needed blood transfusions to help treat her internal injuries and make a full recovery. Realizing the importance of blood donations firsthand, she has been a regular blood donor ever since.

“If not for people who give, I might not be here,” Hofreiter said. “Every donation makes a difference.”

According to American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), less than 10 percent of the eligible U.S. population donates blood annually in Colorado and nationwide.

“As a community first, company second, DaVita is committed to lend support to causes that promote the safety and wellbeing of our citizens,” said Javier Rodriguez, CEO of DaVita Kidney Care. “We hope our partnership with CDOT helps bring awareness to the vital role blood donors play in aiding trauma and crash victims.”

CDOT’s Sam Cole hopes people will take action and realize that they can make an immediate difference and save lives. “Donate blood three times a year,” said Cole. “Register to be an organ donor, and wear your seat belt every time you ride in a car.”

The three organizations are working together as part of CDOT’s 2017 Beware of the Beltless seat belt safety campaign 

The Beware of the Beltless campaign was launched to address the seat belt crisis in Colorado. The campaign raises awareness about exactly how an unbuckled person poses a risk to themselves, other people in the vehicle, and even those outside the vehicle. Learn more about Beware of the Beltless at or download creative from the Beware of the Beltless campaign at

DaVita Inc., a Fortune 500® company, is the parent company of DaVita Kidney Care and HealthCare Partners, a DaVita Medical Group. DaVita Kidney Care is a leading provider of kidney care in the United States, delivering dialysis services to patients with chronic kidney failure and end stage renal disease. As of December 31, 2016, DaVita Kidney Care operated or provided administrative services at 2,350 outpatient dialysis centers located in the United States serving approximately 188,000 patients. The company also operated 154 outpatient dialysis centers located in 11 countries outside the United States. HealthCare Partners manages and operates medical groups and affiliated physician networks in California, Nevada, New Mexico, Florida, Colorado and Washington in its pursuit to deliver excellent-quality health care in a dignified and compassionate manner. As of December 31, 2016, HealthCare Partners provided integrated care management for approximately 749,000 patients. For more information, please visit

Headquartered in Denver, Blood Systems’ Mountain Division consists of Bonfils Blood Center operations in Colorado and United Blood Services (UBS) operations throughout Wyoming, western Nebraska and southwestern South Dakota. Together, Bonfils Blood Center and UBS need to collect approximately 3,500 blood donations each week to support patients at nearly 140 hospitals and healthcare facilities. The division includes 11 donor centers and operates an average of 250 blood drives monthly. Blood Systems, one of the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit community blood service providers, serves more than 800 hospitals across 24 states to provide comprehensive transfusion medicine services for patients in need.