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Blood drives give students, staff opportunity to be heroes

August 19, 2009

There are approximately 80,000 heroes at ASU’s four campuses. Or potential heroes, that is.

According to United Blood Services, anyone who gives a pint of blood is considered a hero, and between faculty, staff, students and visitors, that could mean a lot of the life-giving and life-saving fluid.

Because of ASU’s concentration of people, and its ready supply of young, healthy students, the campus is a prime source for United Blood Services, said Katherine Witt, donor recruitment representative for UBS.

To that end, drives are scheduled or sponsored numerous times during the academic year at ASU.

Why is so much blood needed?

According to UBS, someone in the United States receives a blood transfusion every two seconds, and one out of every five hospital patients needs blood.

Until the mid-1900s, blood was transfused exactly as it was collected – one pint donated, one pint given. But now, blood can be broken down into four components – red blood cells, platelets, plasma and cryoprecipitate.

“Though the blood can be separated, we don’t get four components from each donation,” said Sue Thew, public relations director for United Blood Services. “Many factors determine the number of components, including blood type and current hospital transfusion needs."

Each component has a designated use: red blood cells for surgery patients, premature babies and accident victims; platelets for cancer and leukemia patients; plasma for burn and shock patients; and cryoprecipitate for hemophiliacs.

Many people do not know their blood type, Witt said. But those who don’t know will find out when they donate.

Blood occurs in eight types – O, A, B, and AB, in positive and negative versions. The most common blood type is O+, which occurs in 37 percent of people. The most rare is AB-, which is found in only 1 percent of the population.

The most versatile blood is 0-, which can be transfused to all blood types, positive and negative.

Patients with the blood type AB+ are at the other end of the spectrum, since they can receive donations of any blood type.

People as young as 16 can give blood, provided they meet certain height and weight requirements. The process takes about an hour, and sterile equipment is used, so there is no worry about catching a disease. Because the body replaces the donated blood within three to four weeks, a person may give as often as every eight weeks.

UBS recommends that people who plan to donate eat a hearty, low-fat meal and drink plenty of water before donating.

As a thank you for donating, UBS will enter the name of all donors in Tempe during September in a drawing for 62 pairs of tickets to the Grand Canyon Railway. Those who bring a new donor can win a movie ticket.

UBS also recognizes “heroes” who earn reward points for reaching certain donation levels. Those who reach the Gold, Silver and Bronze categories can receive movie tickets and certificates for games, DVDs, music and more.

Blood Drive Dates:
Aug. 24, 25: 10:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m., MU
Aug. 26: 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., MU
Aug. 27: 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., MU; 3:30-8:30 p.m., Aug. 27, Barrett, the Honors College
Aug. 28: 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., MU
Sept. 21-25: 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., MU  

To make an appointment to donate blood, call 1-877-448-GIVE (4483) or visit