Troops battling in World War II increased the awareness and demand for blood plasma worldwide. Americans supporting the war effort at home realized the importance of blood transfusions in saving lives. For many communities, it created the new social responsibility of ensuring a safe and adequate blood supply for anyone who needed it.
Accommodating the blood needs of the Rocky Mountain region was not easy in the early 1940's. The blood banks nearest to Denver were located in Dallas and Kansas City, Mo. Fortunately, Dr. Osgoode Philpott and philanthropist Helen G. Bonfils recognized the need to establish a blood bank in Colorado. Pulling together a diverse group of community-minded people, they founded Denver's first community blood bank.
Belle Bonfils Memorial Blood Bank, named after Helen's beloved mother, opened February 27, 1943 at Colorado General Hospital (now University of Colorado Hospital). Its vision was to meet the blood needs of the local community, as well as the military forces fighting overseas and we maintain that focus today when 2013 marked the celebration of 70 years of saving lives.
Belle Bonfils Memorial Blood Bank eventually outgrew its space because of high demand for its services and increased community support. In 1954, the organization moved to new facilities where it could nurture its expanding role in the community. Soon after, the name changed from blood bank to Belle Bonfils Memorial Blood Center to better reflect its services, especially in the area of transfusion medicine.
Today, Bonfils Blood Center has become an important part of the healthcare system throughout Colorado. Our headquarters are in Denver in the Lowry redevelopment area and we have nearly 350 employees including phlebotomists, apheresis and donor laboratory technicians, accounting, human resources and communication professionals who work at Bonfils each day to make a difference in our community. It now operates six community donor centers, serves more than 100 healthcare facilities in Colorado and beyond, collects nearly 143,000 units of blood annually and offers a variety of services to better meet the needs of the community, including the Colorado Marrow Donor Program.
Bonfils Blood Center expects to continue growing with the changing needs of our community. As a nonprofit organization, Bonfils Blood Center proudly manufactures pure and potent blood products in compliance with current regulatory, accrediting and quality management standards.