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Drive for Life XVI Draws Huge Turnout

Posted Oct 22, 2013

The partnership between the Broncos and Bonfils Blood Center has made the annual blood drive one of the largest in the nation.

DENVER -- Every October for the past 16 years, the Denver Broncos and Bonfils Blood Center have partnered up for the Drive for Life.

The annual event is held in the club level at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, and more than two dozen Broncso players, alumni and cheerleaders headed to the stadium to show their support.

"It's so great that everybody comes out to support it -- players, cheereladers and as an organization comprehensively," safety Rahim Moore said. "Our organization does a great job of making sure that we stay involved in the community. Our fans deserve it. They do a great job of supporting us week in and week out."

But the event is about more than just the Broncos supporting the community. It's about the community coming together to help save lives.

That's what impressed quarterback Brock Osweiler the most -- the huge turnout for such a great cause.

"I believe it really shows there is a great sense of community in this city," he said. "It's very special to be a part of such a great community in Denver. I just hope this event keeps getting bigger and bigger."

Approximately 1,500 people typically show up to donate at the Drive for Life, and each donation can save or enhance up to three lives.

The timing is no coincidence -- the blood drive is held in October because of the tough winter months that lie ahead.

"If you make a donation here in October, not only is it getting us ready for those challenging winter months, but also you'll be eligible to donate again in two months," Bonfils Vice President of Marketing and Community Development Jessica Maitland said. "That's one of the things we're really hoping -- people will see how easy it is to make a donation, have a good experience and then make a life-long commitment to say, 'You know what? I'm willing to go back in two months. I'm willing to give at least two times a year, three times a year.'"

Since 1998, the Drive for Life has grown into the largest single-day blood drive in the history of Colorado, and one of the largest in the nation.

Maitland said Bonfils truly appreciates its partnership with the Broncos, because it helps provide a bit of a reward to those that donate.

Not only were autographs and photographs from Broncos players, alumni and cheerleaders available, there were stadium-style concessions, a coloring station, a caricature artist and even a photo booth as part of the "one-of-a-kind event."

"It's our one time a year when we can truly give back to our donors by creating such a wonderful experience in our partnership with the Broncos, to have players and alums and cheerleaders signing autographs for them," Maitland said. "Also, it's really a wonderful way for us to encourage first-time donations. If we can create an experience that's very inviting and welcoming and show people who have maybe thought about blood donation but have never given it a try, give them the opportunity to come down and see how great it is to save lives by blood donation, then we're doing our jobs today."