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Blood drive short of record

October 10, 2013

Published here on August 26, 2013.

N.C. State students bled red for the community Friday at the fourth annual campus blood drive. 1,100 pints were donated, which is slightly less than last year’s record-breaking 1,137.

Despite falling short of last year’s donation count, junior and student body president Alex Parker said the event was nothing short of “awesome.”

“It was so fun to give blood in the Wolfpack community—seeing all the students, faculty and staff come out,” Parker said.

Parker, along with 375 other donors, gave blood for the first time ever Friday. He said that although he was nervous at first, the upbeat atmosphere calmed him down. While Parker was in the chair donating blood, N.C. State a cappella groups Ladies in Red and Grains of Time performed a few numbers for the students who were waiting in line.

“It was really cool hearing the Wolfpack chant and seeing all of the familiar faces. Red everywhere; it calmed me down and I got through it,” Parker said.

Melissa Green, associate director at the Center for Student Leadership, Ethics, and Public Service and blood drive committee chairperson, also spoke highly of the N.C. State community as a whole.

“We’re seeing more and more people are aware of this drive. They are aware of the impact that N.C. State can have—the impact that we do have—through this drive,” Green said. “I personally think it’s becoming a part of our culture here.”

According to the Red Cross, someone needs a blood transfusion every two seconds. Kara Lusk Dudley, the communications program manager for the American Red Cross, said that N.C. State students helped ease that need on Friday.

“It’s a really great partnership, to see how the Red Cross and N.C. State come together,” Lusk Dudley said. “A lot of folks don’t realize how important blood is and how much it’s needed. It’s constant. It’s not just during the summer. It’s not just during Christmas time. It’s every day.”

Lusk Dudley went on to explain that every pint of blood donated can potentially save three lives. That’s because blood can be separated into red blood cells, plasma and platelets, each of which can be donated to a separate patient.

“[Giving blood] is just a really important thing, and I think it’s really great that we have this partnership with N.C. State,” Lusk Dudley said. “Without you guys, we couldn’t be serving our patients at the hospital.”

Compared to other North Carolina schools, N.C. State ranks fairly well in terms of donor participation. Last June, UNC-CH students donated only 804 total pints. However, Appalachian State University swept the 2012 competition with around 1,300 pints.

“There’s a big competition among the different universities in North Carolina,” Lusk Dudley said. “Next month [ASU] is going to have their drive again. I think N.C. State’s hoping to get their [donation count] up high enough so they can still beat App State.”

To help the Wolfpack win in that rivalry, students donated not only their blood but also their time.

Michael Blyer, a freshman in engineering, waited in line for over an hour. However, Blyer said the possibility of helping someone else was worth the wait.

“I don’t have anything to lose,” Blyer said. “If I’m helping someone else, that sounds good to me.”

After making it through the line, students donated approximately one pint of blood each. They were given a chance to rest and then directed to a recovery room where they were provided sugary drinks and light food.

“Sugary drinks are actually a really good thing,” Lusk Dudley said. “I don’t normally drink sodas but when I donate blood, it’s kind of a must because you’ve got to get those sugars back—a Sprite or regular Coke, those are good—and no exercise.”

At the end of the day, despite the long wait, the needles and the recovery process, the joy of helping others far outweighed the costs Friday.

“I’m just glad I can come here and help other people,” Blyer said.


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