Battling for Blood

Weber State University’s Community Involvement Center and the American Red Cross are sponsoring a blood drive in which WSU is competing against fourother Utah schools to collect the most blood.

The blood battle, which includes WSU, Utah State University, Southern Utah University, University of Utah and College of Eastern Utah, occurs every semester. Last semester, WSU collected more blood than it ever had before.

For this competition, WSU’s goal is to collect 250 units of blood during four day event. The event started on Tuesday and will end on Friday. Students can give blood in Ballroom C of the Shepherd Union Building between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

“[The blood] will leave here today, and we will take it back to Murray,” said Jennifer Field, team supervisor for the Red Cross. “That’s where our blood bank is, and it will go to the lab there. The tubes will be shipped for testing, and within five to seven days, it will be distributed to local hospitals along the Wasatch Front.”

Before giving blood, donors must answer a series of questions about their health. They also have their blood pressure and temperature taken to ensure they are healthy enough to donate. After that, donors are ready to give blood.

“There’s a bit of a pinch and a sting with the initial poke,” Field said. “Other than that, it’s not painful. Mostly the donor will just feel the pressure from the blood pressure cuff on the arm that we use as a tourniquet. It only takes about five to seven minutes.”

About a pint of blood is taken from each donor, filling a blood bag and six tubes. Field also mentioned that very few people faint when giving blood, saying that it is mostly psychological and can be prevented by being well hydrated and eating a good meal beforehand.

“Everyone should donate,” Field said. “It’s a good cause. There is nothing more precious than the gift of life. It has a dual effect — it’s healthy for the donor,as well as therapeutic and life saving for the recipient.”

Laura Preece donated for her fifth time during this blood battle.

“Whenever I see an opportunity to donate, I take it,” Preece said. “I work in healthcare, so I see the difference that it makes.”

Preece is currently a CNA and is also doing EMT work. She hopes to get into the nursing program next semester.

Preece said she always gets nervous when she first goes in to donate.

“I’ve been turned away once for my iron being low,” Preece said, “so I always get nervous that I’ll get turned away. But it doesn’t hurt at all, and the people who are doing it are always really nice.”

Preece plans on donating again and urges everyone else to donate as well.

“Giving blood is a great way to give of oneself,” said Mike Moon, assistant director of the Community Involvement Center. “It’s a selfless act of something that can’t be produced in any other way . . . that really gives life to other individuals.”

Amanda Lewark