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Red Cross unveils remodeled Blood Donation Center in Great Falls

Posted at 8:39 AM, Jun 21, 2024

In the video above, Aneesa Coomer reports on the newly-remodeled Red Cross Blood Donation Center in Great Falls.

The Montana Red Cross unveiled the newly remodeled Blood Donation Center in Great Falls, complete with a state-of-the-art Reference Laboratory and Blood Processing Center where blood products are screened and tested before being distributed to hospitals across the state.

The Donation Center had not seen an update since the 1970s, and saw a complete remodel and upgraded equipment to their facilities.

One of the goals for the upgrades in the donation center was to expand the area for a larger capacity, and to give donors a more comfortable experience.

Red Cross unveils remodeled Blood Donation Center in Great Falls
Red Cross unveils remodeled Blood Donation Center in Great Falls

The grand opening celebration included speeches given by Great Falls citizens who received life-saving transfusions of donated blood.

One speaker was breast cancer survivor Denise Burk, who received multiple blood transfusions throughout her battle.

Burk says, “I thanked God every day and I thanked the donors as I was receiving that blood for sacrificing their time and their energy to save me, who they probably don't know and I will never meet. But that donation and knowing that that's something that is the reason why I'm here and I'm alive. Without having those donations, I wouldn't have been able to survive it.”

Only 3% of those eligible to give blood donate, and there is always a shortage of blood throughout the nation. Blood is especially needed during the summer months, when a higher level of accidents occur.

Nicole Sirak Irwin, Regional CEO for Idaho, Montana, and East Oregon Red Cross Chapters explains, “There's a constant need for blood donations. There is no synthetic alternative, we only have Americans who give blood as our donor supplies. All of the blood that's collected in Montana comes through here for testing and distribution, so we just kind of gave it a refresh. High tech and high trained staff.”

The center is also home to a Reference Laboratory, which is one of only 21 blood manufacturing facilities in the country. It features high tech equipment that matches patients with their exact blood needs, like separating platelets from whole blood if a patient needs platelets to treat bleeding.

All blood donations in the state are sent to the Great Falls Blood Processing Center, which screens and tests over 44,000 blood products a year, like platelets and plasma, to be distributed to 30 hospitals across the state.