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ISSUE 119 VOL 5 PUBLISHED 10/14/2005

Arms out for life: Drive collects blood for patients

By Lauren Radomski
Variety Editor

Friday, October 14, 2005

St. Olaf students and faculty members turned out to participate in the American Red Cross blood drive on Monday and Tuesday. It was one of two blood drives sponsored annually by the Blue Key Honor Society.

According to Breanna Peterson '06, one of the blood drive co-coordinators, a highlight of the drive was seeing "the St. Olaf community come together to make it happen."

Peterson estimated that approximately 300 students took part in the blood drive, whether as donors or volunteers.

Many students believe that giving blood is an easy way to make a difference in someone’s life. Blue Key president and blood drive co-coordinator Matthew Stortz ‘'07 called it "the best way that non-pre-med students can save lives."

Katja Andresen ‘'08, who donated for the first time on Tuesday, agreed: "Taking the hour to donate blood is a small sacrifice when considering the immediate need of blood in hospitals."

Instead of leaving others to fulfill this need, "St. Olaf students have decided to take matters into their own hands, or rather, their own arms," Andresen said.

According to Bruce Kranig, St. Olaf’s donor recruitment representative from the Red Cross, the drive collected 173 pints of blood, surpassing its goal of 160.

"Overall, we had a great blood drive," Kranig said. "Breanna, Matt and all the student volunteers worked very hard and did a fantastic job."

The website of the American Red Cross provides a wealth of information on the process of blood donation, following blood from donor to recipient.

Each unit of blood, known as whole blood, can be separated into different components, such as red blood cells, plasma and platelets. Different components go to patients with varying needs, so that as many as three lives can be saved by one donation.

Although the Red Cross needs all blood types, O- is especially valuable because all other blood types can receive O- safely, allowing for its use during life threatening situations or when an exact blood match is in short supply.

People receiving blood transfusions include patients who have undergone heart surgery or an organ transplant, trauma victims, women with complications during childbirth, newborns and premature babies and cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

According to Kranig, "Every two seconds, someone is in need of blood. Nationally, that equates to approximately 38,000 units of blood needed each day."

Kranig added: "The need for blood is constant. Demand continues to increase and the challenge is to keep pace with this increase."

"As members of society, we all have a responsibility to insure that the blood people need is available, because we never know who or when someone will need blood," Kranig said.

For several of this week’s donors, such as Becky Huncosky ‘'08, this "someone" has been a friend or family member.

"This past July, my mom needed a blood transfusion and it really hit home to be able to look at her intravenous and think, ‘That could be my blood,’" Huncosky said.

The Red Cross estimates that 95 percent of the U.S. population will either need or know someone who needs a blood transfusion. Although 70 percent of the nation's population is eligible to give blood, only five percent actually donates.

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