Blood drive brings community donors together |

Blood drive brings community donors together

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune
Dan Thrift/Tahoe Daily TribuneRegistered nurse Kristen Gravew, right, taps Larry Bosel of South Lake Tahoe during the Barton Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Blood Drive at the South Lake Tahoe Branch Library.

Larry Bosel has given blood almost every two months for 30 years. The 52-year-old retired Alameda Naval Station electronics mechanic is unsure how many times he has given blood, but somewhere around 100 seems a satisfactory ballpark figure, he said.

On Monday afternoon, Bosel was one of more than 100 people to give blood at the South Lake Tahoe Blood Drive at the South Lake Tahoe branch of the El Dorado County Library.

“I can’t stand needles but I can give blood,” Bosel said.

Fourteen staff members from the Sacramento Medical Foundation and one volunteer drew 565 grams of blood from each visitor. Last year 889 people gave blood, said Pat Amundson, coordinator for Barton Hospital Auxiliary.

“There is a shortage of blood,” she said. “People are afraid to donate. My answer to that is, ‘If you get something, you brought it with you.'”

South Shore blood drives have existed since 1966. The blood is processed and tested in Sacramento and distributed to hospitals such as Barton.

“It’s not everybody that can give blood,” Bosel said, while lying in one of 10 blue lounge chairs. “The ones that can give, should give.”

Only 5 percent of people with healthy blood actually donate, said a nurse.

Kristen Graves, 30, has been drawing blood for more than three years. The Sacramento nurse said she sees a regular clientele.

“A lot of these donors are here every eight weeks,” she said. “We see a lot of the same people.”

A donor’s finger is pricked to test for anemia, or a deficiency of red blood cells. Donors at Lake Tahoe usually are found with a healthy red blood cell count because more cells are produced to get more oxygen from the mountain air.

Bonnie James sat in a lounge chair, a familiar seat for her. With a prick of a needle, James donated blood for the 84th time. She enjoys giving blood and doesn’t mind the needle, she said.

“You get to see some of your friends (donating blood) that you haven’t seen for awhile,” she said. “It’s a social event.”

The next blood drive is scheduled for April 22 at the library.

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