DENVER —** At Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Tuesday, Jordan Taylor was a sight as bright as his nickname.
He walked through the lanes that had been made by the arrangement of donation chairs, and as he did, he stopped to say hello to each person giving blood at Drive for Life 20.
For many people, the sight of a needle causes anxiety, but the purpose — giving blood to help save lives or receiving a vaccine — is greater than the fear. And if you then add in the factor of meeting Broncos players, well, that is one fear that becomes easily overcome.
The Denver Broncos and Bonfils Blood Center hosted Drive for Life 20 along with more than 20 Broncos players.
That's why Drive for Life, a blood drive partnership between the Broncos and Bonfils Blood Center, has been so popular for 20 years.
"The Broncos have been a great community partner for 20 years now with Bonfils Blood Center," said Liz Lambert, a Bonfils spokesperson. "[They are] helping get the word out that the need for blood is constant and helping hold this event every year to remind donors of why it is that blood donations are so important and just celebrating those donors and making this a great event."
Some of the Broncos 22 players who supported the event wandered the donation area, like Taylor, and others played games with those who had already donated.
"It's always fun to just get out here and play games and hang out with the fans and the community," Virgil Green said. "Just for them to see us … playing pop-a-shot here, I'm going to get real competitive. I think it's good for fans to see us in our competitive stage, kind of how we are on the field and just having fun.
"It helps save many lives, regardless of what the situation is. And anybody can give blood and help and [pay it] forward is doing a great thing in the community."
Beneath the jovial spirit of the event was a very serious cause.
"On a regular basis, Bonfils collects about 3,000 or more units of blood every week all around Colorado, just to help 100 hospitals in Colorado and hospitals in other states, as well, meet the needs of patients on a regular basis," Lambert said. "The blood collected today, we hope, will top 1,000 units, which will go towards helping ensure that as we approach the holiday months and weeks that when people are more busy, maybe aren't making time for those donations, we can help ensure that those donations can continue to be met."
The cause is important for the Broncos, and the reason why the community has picked up the support for 20 years is clear.
"They are the heartbeat of our team," Green said.