Blood donors desperately needed at U

Stacy Herrmann

Nancy Hudson is alive today because of blood donors.
And the 48-year-old from Bloomington is on the forefront of a campaign to get more people to donate blood. The University’s second blood drive of the year will start today at the University Recreation Center.
Hudson, who has type A-negative blood, has needed blood transfusions five different times as a result of two open heart surgeries, internal bleeding and complications with her pregnancies. Yet only 6 percent of the population carries her blood type.
After her second open-heart surgery, Hudson’s doctors had trouble finding her blood type for a transfusion she needed.
As Hudson lay in a hospital bed, fighting for her life, the American Red Cross opened blood banks on a Sunday specifically to find a type A-negative donor.
“My daughter wouldn’t have a mother if it hadn’t been for blood donors,” Hudson said. “You have no idea of the impact it has on peoples’ lives.”
Minnesota Student Association Vice President Bridgette Murphy has heard the message, and consequently, is organizing this week’s event. She wants to raise 600 pints of blood by Thursday. The American Red Cross and the Memorial Blood Centers of Minnesota are jointly collecting the blood.
According to the American Red Cross, it takes about 10 minutes to fill a one-pint bag with blood. That amount is less than one-tenth the body’s total blood volume.
Hennepin County needs 250 pints of blood a day, by some estimations.
“It’s really important that we get a lot of blood donors,” said Murphy, who added that in the past three years, the number of donors at the University has decreased. The goal of 800 pints for the fall blood drive fell short by more than 200 pints. This drive, organizers are setting a less lofty goal of 600 pints.
“You have to have it there when someone needs it,” said Murphy of donated blood.
Planning began in December for the blood drive, but Murphy said the last three weeks have been hectic with the preparation needed to organize volunteers and recruiting donors.
More than 60 staff members are needed throughout the three-day blood drive at the University. This includes nurses, truck drivers, people who seal the bags of blood and also numerous volunteers to greet the donors and help them recover after they donate.
The University Retirees Club also has members who volunteer to help with the blood drive.
For those who are leery of needles, Hudson has an encouraging way to view the process.
The needle can be used to take blood or to give blood, she said.