United Blood Services raises awareness of need of donors

by BRANDI ORTIZ//News Editor

On September 7th and 8th, United Blood Services hosted a blood drive in the Sundown room to raise awareness in hopes to inspire students to donate.

The need for blood is something not everyone talks about. We know there is a need but do we really know how much is demanded? Nick Todd, the donor recruitment representative at the Lubbock branch, not only encourages but awards the students that donate.

“We like to give away shirts, especially to the schools,” says Todd, “we are able to tailor the shirts to their school colors and mascot.” Also, school are usually where they get their most blood donations. With SPC averaging on 90 units a drive!

If you have seen any fellow Texans with this drive’s shirt design and thought to yourself, “Man I could design a shirt that could be as great or even better,” then I say, “get to it”.  Most shirt designs are often taken from a website where they choose and then send it to a company to customize it to each drive.

“Every now and then you get an independent design that comes from a donor or a school”, Todd says. “[The design] has got to go through a process of making sure that it is not offensive and is something that is clear of any trademarks”.

But don’t’ just go into the next drive and take a shirt, shirts are given away to anyone who donates. To make a donation you have to be at least 18, if you are 16 you can donate but must have a parental agreement. Donations take, from the time you sign in to the time you are allowed to sign out, anywhere between 40 to 45 minutes. Of course, depending on how well you react after you donate. Once you are released you are instructed to eat a “hearty meal” which includes salty snacks and a whole lot of water.

United Blood Services' staff in the Sundown Room in the Student Center on Sept. 7  BRANDI ORTIZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS
United Blood Services’ staff in the Sundown Room in the Student Center on Sept. 7

Your height and weight are a huge factor in determining how you can donate. There are two ways to donate; you can donate whole blood or donate plasma. Donating plasma does take a little longer, whereas donating whole blood only takes 10 minutes to take the product, it takes about 35 minutes to get the product. But don’t be worried about how much they take out. During the plasma donation, your blood will be be taken, and split up into platelets. That helps double the red cell count. Most often, they have found that people who donate on the Alex machine, the machine that takes your plasma, is found to feel more hydrated.

“They give all the blood components back to the donor along with some saline,” Todd says, “which helps them feel a little more hydrated than when they came in”. It is still advised to drink some water after the donation.

Once the product is taken, it is sent on to a lab where they test it for any sort of diseases, such as Sickle Cell. If the blood comes out clean and free of any danger, it is then stored in a freezer and dispersed to local hospitals. Any blood which can not be used is then discarded.

After you donate, they usually send you a Donor ID card through the mail. On the card is your name, your donor number, and which type of blood you are. That ID card can be used at your next donation, if for any reason medical personnel needs to know your blood type, and United Blood Services even have a little point system. For every time you donate, points are added to your card, with enough points you can get a shirt or other types of goodies.

If you missed out on the last drive, don’t worry, they are coming back. United Blood Services love coming to SPC, they usually try to come out twice a year. Not very sure if you are eligible to donate? Just ask, the staff is there for you. Todd says, “We want people to ask us, the worst thing we can do is say no.”

If you would rather find out before you go, you can always go online to Unitedbloodservices.org or Bloodhero.com. Don’t forget, one unit of your blood can help save three lives!

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