According to the American Red Cross, while around 38 percent of the population is able to donate blood, less than 10 percent actually do. As encouragement for the Manhattan community, the Aggieville Business Association is presenting the first “A Pint for a Pint” blood drive.
Hosted in Aggieville at the Kathouse Lounge, 1111 Moro St., on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants in the blood drive will be presented with a commemorative T-shirt and a voucher for a free pint of beer, free pint of coffee or a free pita.
The idea for “A Pint for a Pint” was a result of the Aggieville Business Association’s goal to expand the activities of the district and to demonstrate the area’s ability to serve a growing range of patrons, according to a ABA media release. The primary developers of the idea were Maxine and Ray Coffey, sponsors of the Kevin Coffey Memorial Blood Drive, and Rod Harms, executive director of the Aggieville Business Association.
“The Coffeys have been very instrumental in community blood drives, and we were sitting in Aggie Station one day having lunch and so it was suggested and it evolved form there,” Harms said. “In my role as the executive director for ABA, I was hired to pursue things, to make it apparent in the community that this is more than a bar district … This is a restaurant district, this is an entertainment district, and there’s hundreds of employees in the district. We’d had a clinic to get flu shots for our employees, and this seemed like a logical next step.”
Harms said the main goal of the blood drive was to bring in more new donors for the Red Cross.
“You can donate every 56 days, and there’s a lot of people who (do that),” Ray Coffey said. “We have a community blood drive, that’s how my wife and I got involved. Our son, Kevin, was a blood donor and graduated from Manhattan High, and he passed away in a bus accident. We were then able to keep his memory alive by doing a blood drive, so we sponsor an annual community blood drive in his memory … One pint of blood can save three lives. And when you consider that, it’s amazing what one person can do.”
The American Red Cross, Harms and Coffey have several tips on how to give blood successfully. The Red Cross said that the blood donation process consists of four steps: registration, giving your medical history and receiving a mini physical, which determines if you qualify to donate, the actual blood donation and giving out refreshments to donors for a quick recovery. To donate, a blood donor card, driver’s license, or two other forms of identification must be presented.
“Through the beginning of January, donations are down about 15 percent overall from what the Red Cross need to maintain a sufficient supply of blood for patients in need.” – Kristin Ingalls
Harms said he recommends drinking plenty of fluids both before and after, avoiding alcohol consumption, getting plenty of rest and taking other general steps you normally take to keep yourself healthy.
Coffey said he recommended a specific food to ensure your iron levels are high enough, a frequent issue of donating especially for women.
“Eat Oreo (cookies),” Coffey said. “It sounds crazy, but it’s better than spinach – it’s for the iron. Believe it or not, Oreos, particularly Oreos with chocolate centers, has a higher concentration of iron. And who doesn’t like Oreos?”
According to Kristin Ingalls, senior donor recruitment representative for the American Red Cross, January is a particularly important month to donate if you’re healthy.
“Through the beginning of January, donations are down about 15 percent overall from what the Red Cross need to maintain a sufficient supply of blood for patients in need,” Ingalls said.
January is observed as National Blood Donor month in order to increase blood donations during the winter season, which can be one of the most difficult times of year for donors to give blood because of the increase in illnesses. Blood donors with all blood types, but particularly O negative, A negative and B negative are strongly encouraged to donate.
Both Harms and Coffey said they think the blood drive will be a success.
“(Aggieville is) a very generous place,” Harms said. “Not just the business owners, but also the patrons. And that’s what weill be fun. We hope we smash the 45 pint goal … and I’m feeling pretty confident.”