Students take time out of homecoming to give blood

Lacey Crisp

While homecoming activities kicked off this week, some University students sat back and gave blood as part of the events.

The University homecoming committee and the Minneapolis chapter of the American Red Cross held a blood drive Tuesday at Coffman Union.

More than 100 students gave blood at the drive, said Abby Johnston, a Homecoming Committee member.

Johnston said philanthropy is always a part of homecoming.

“We always like to do one large-scale event where we can give back to the community, where everyone has a chance to participate,” Johnston said.

The group sponsors different philanthropic activities every year to encourage more people to become active.

Johnston said the American Red Cross was excited to have students donate blood, especially because many showed up.

“We have been turning people away because our traffic flow has been really heavy,” Johnston said.

Denise Flaa, team supervisor with the American Red Cross, said Minneapolis is keeping up with its blood supply overall, although there was an alert two weeks ago.

“It’s a great thing to do with the enthusiasm of homecoming,” Flaa said. “It’s neat for the students to start a lifelong habit.”

Flaa said the time it takes to give blood is worthwhile because people can save lives by donating.

Flaa said she thought the group would reach its goal of 105 pints of blood, which would help more than 300 people.

Senior Courtney Araskog said she gave blood to support homecoming.

“The blood is in short supply, so it is important to give,” Araskog said.

She said it took approximately an hour.

Jack Sheehan, communications manager for North Central Blood Services of the Red Cross, said there is approximately a two-day supply of blood in the area.

The American Red Cross divides the country into 36 blood regions, and North Central Blood Services covers Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin, South Dakota and Iowa.

Sheehan said the national supply is at approximately three days’ worth.

The American Red Cross estimates 2,000 pints of blood are used every day – hence, a two-day supply means there are 4,000 pints available.

“We usually have about a three- to five-day supply, so we are a little low,” Sheehan said. “Blood supply is like a river – it keeps flowing.”

Sheehan said blood can only be stored for 56 days before it must be used or thrown out.

“It would be very nice if the University can reach its goal,” Sheehan said.

First-year student Kyla McCorkle said she’s tried to give blood but wasn’t able to in the past.

“I thought I’d come back and try it again,” McCorkle said.

This attempt was successful.

McCorkle said she donated blood because she was told that every time a person donates blood, he or she can save three lives.

“I think it’s cool that I can save lives,” McCorkle said.

The worst part about donating blood is the waiting, she said.

“I don’t mind the needle as much as I do waiting in line,” she said.