The Carlson School of Management sponsored a blood drive Thursday in honor of a man who now depends on others’ donations to survive after dedicating his life to donating blood himself.
George Winter, a program associate in managerial communications, was diagnosed earlier this year with myelofibrosis, a rare blood disease in which bone marrow stops producing hemoglobin.
His blood condition is incurable and terminal, making his life dependent on a blood transfusion every three to four weeks.
More than 40 alumni, staff, faculty members and students showed up Thursday to give their blood for the drive. Winter’s colleagues organized the event as a tribute to him.
For 40 years, Winter donated blood four to six times per year. Although a person is only allowed to give blood every 56 days, Winter said he didn’t like to wait.
“I used to cheat and tell them that it had been that long,” he said. “I never thought I would need it back.”
Winter was told three years ago that he could no longer be a donor, but his giving nature does not end with his blood donations.
Despite his weakened condition, Winters remains on University staff, performing his duties, said Candace McClenahan, director of the management program.
“He doesn’t do it for the money,” she said. “He enjoys the interactions with students.”
In May, the University awarded Winters the President’s Award for Outstanding Service. Nomination letters came from alumni, students, faculty members and staff, McClenahan said.
“He has been an instrument in expanding our program,” she said. “His work day lasts beyond normal hours.”
One of Winter’s colleagues came to the blood drive despite the probability she would not be able to make a donation.
“I felt I needed to give it a try for George,” said Jan De Noble, a teaching specialist for the General College and technical consultant for the managerial program.
A student at Thursday’s blood drive appeared to share Winter’s passion for blood donation.
“I’m a regular,” said Brooke Nelson, a Carlson School of Management junior. “It’s another opportunity to give blood.”
Although the local blood supply is not running low, Red Cross representative Susan Kluesner said there is significant blood supply shortage nationwide.
“Younger populations are not giving as much as older populations,” Kluesner said. “The latest disasters have raised concerns about blood supplies.”
Because of flooding from Hurricane Floyd, places in need of the most blood are unable to collect it in their own area, making them reliant on other communities for aid.
Bryan Keogh covers professional schools and welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3232.