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University blood drive yields 311 units, falls short of goal

November 6, 2008

Students, faculty and interested members of the community lined up to donate blood at the American Red Cross sponsored blood drive held in the University Center Ballroom Oct. 29 and 30. Red Cross workers collected blood from noon to 6 p.m. each day and, by the end of the drive, 311 units of blood were collected, falling just short of their goal of 320.

  Last year UW-River Falls was ranked number two in blood donations in the area, just behind Winona State. This year’s goal was to set at 160 units per day, up from 140 units last year. Student Activities Coordinator Sara Gliniany said this increase was due to the blood drive’s location.

  “With the convenience of the drive being held in the University Center, more people are willing to donate,” she said. 

  Gliniany said that an extra day has been added to the next blood drive in February. The drive will be for three days starting on Feb. 2, in an attempt to fulfill the University’s goal of being number one in donations.

Sophomore Baily Ranum gave blood for the first time at the event. Ranum said she had always wanted to give blood but, had always been too afraid to do it until now. 

  “I’m scared about the pain from the needle,” Ranum said. “I’m afraid that I might faint.”

  Afterward, she explained that the experience of donating blood was not as bad as she thought it would be. 

  “It was good, just a little pain from the needle, but I’m glad I went through with it,” she said.

  American Red Cross staff member Hannah Kittleson said that it is important to donate blood.

  “Each unit of blood has the possibility to save up to three lives,” Kittleson said. “Without it, life-saving medical treatments would not be possible.”

  Veteran donor and junior Justin Vara gave blood for the fifth time at the event. He said he was disappointed by people who did not give blood.

  “There is no reason why I can’t give blood,” Vara said. “There are too many people who can donate, but for some reason choose not to.”

  Vara said that he keeps giving blood because he would “feel bad if [he] didn’t.”

  American Red Cross worker Adrian Washington described the donation process in four steps. Registration is first. During registration donors are given information about the donation process and eligibility requirements.

  After registration, a trained Red Cross staff member conducts a private interview about a donor’s health history. A physical test is then conducted that includes checking a donor’s temperature, iron level, blood pressure and pulse to ensure their health before giving blood.

  The third step is the donation. Donors are fitted with a collection bag and a needle is inserted into their arm. The actual collection process usually takes seven to 10 minutes to complete.

  The Red Cross provides refreshments to donors after they give blood. The Red Cross recommends spending between 10 to 15 minutes resting and eating before continuing daily activities.

  “The whole donation process usually takes about one hour, depending on how long you have to wait,” Washington said.

  Two additional blood drives will be held at the University Center this year. The first will be Feb. 2-4 and the second will be held in April.