American Red Cross blood drive launches today

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Emily DeShazer | Collegian Adam Converse, a phlebotomist, tapes gauze around Alan Armour's arm, a junior in construction science, as he begins to donate blood to the Red Cross at the last blood drive September 30, 2013, at the K-State Student Union. Converse jokingly stated "this job's pretty rough because I know I'm getting blood money."

The American Red Cross Blood Drive starts today across campus with a goal of collecting 700 pints of blood from K-State students, faculty and staff by Friday.

“We are holding the largest collegiate blood drive that the Red Cross holds in the state of Kansas,” Jan Hale, communications manager for the American Red Cross, said. “We need all hands on deck.”

According to Hale, the blood drive will need just over 900 donors in order to meet the 700 pint goal – most drives need about 30 percent more donors than the goal. Occasionally, people who come to donate are deferred due to their health or a life experience, such as traveling.

“Some people come in and maybe their iron count is too low or they are deferred because of travel,” Hale said. “People who travel in regions with malaria risks associated with them can’t, for example.”

Donors must also be at least 17 years old to donate without parental consent, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good general health.

To properly prepare to donate blood, Hale recommends that students get enough water to drink the day before, eat a healthy meal before donating and get enough sleep.

Make sure you’ve had a good breakfast that’s not a Diet Dr. Pepper and an apple,” Hale said. “Make sure you are well rested. Don’t pull an all-nighter.”

Drive volunteers help screen donors before giving blood, which includes asking questions about their travel and medication history, and general health.

“We want this to be a good experience for our donors,” Hale said. “We know that’s what makes people come back and donate again if they’ve had as pleasant of time as possible.”

K-State involvement, steak incentives
K-State is a wonderful place to hold a blood drive, Hale said.

“We have so much help from the students at K-State,” Hale said. “We have lots and lots of different organizations that are helping us. It’s not just the Red Cross arriving on campus; we’ve had lots of interaction with students groups, greek life, residence halls – all different areas of student populations to make this successful.”

All blood donors will receive a coupon for an appetizer from Texas Road House, located at 200 Manhattan Town Center. Drawings will be held for meal coupons from Texas Road House; the greek house with the most participation will win a catered meal from the restaurant. The residence hall floor with the highest participation will win a pizza party.

Importance of donating blood
Donating blood is incredibly important, Hale said.

“We are providing what can’t be provided any other way,” Hale said. “When you consider that every two seconds someone in this country needs blood, and the only way to provide that is for someone to roll up their sleeve, it’s so important. There is no way for anyone else to provide what that person needs.”

The American Red Cross, nationwide, uses 17,000 pints of blood a day. As much as 20 percent of those donations come from high school and college students, according to the American Red Cross.

“(The K-State Blood Drive) is really important to us,” Hale said. “It’s a big drive. It’s a big goal. We think K-State is well able to handle it. Students are welcoming and supportive. We are very appreciative.”

The drive will be held daily today through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the second floor of the K-State Student Union in the Union Ballroom, and 2:30-8 p.m. in the Putnam Hall lobby. It will also be held Friday, April 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Union Ballroom.

To sign up, visit redcrossblood.org and search sponsor code “kstate” or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). All blood types are accepted. Bring a blood donor’s car or drivers license, or two other forms of identification to check in.

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