Homecoming Blood Drive collects 266 more units than last year

The blood drive was 94 units away from reaching its goal.
MU student Lauren Lee Burton gives blood at the Hearnes Center. This year was MU’s 33rd annual Blood Drive held on Oct. 8-11, 2018. Courtesy of University of Missouri Student Affairs via Sam O'Keefe

3,906 units of blood were donated by students, faculty and members of the public at the 33rd annual Homecoming Blood Drive on Oct. 8-11 at the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse.

MU partners with the American Red Cross each year to host the largest student-run blood drive in the nation. Last year, the Homecoming blood drive collected 3,640 pints of blood. According to the Homecoming social media pages, the goal for this year’s blood drive was 4,000 pints.

MU hosted the blood drive to “benefit those in need around the Columbia area and beyond,” according to the event website. According to the American Red Cross website, every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood.

Phlebotomist Anna Donelson of the American Red Cross drew blood during the drive. She said those who work for the American Red Cross all over the Midwest region take part in this blood drive. Donelson said MU’s blood drive may help people become more used to the idea of giving blood.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to get people aware of donating blood, to get them used to the process,” Donelson said. “If they don’t donate and they’re here for friend support, it can help them get calm to the idea of blood.”

Freshman Megan Duffield gave blood for the first time on Tuesday during the Homecoming blood drive. Duffield decided to participate because her sorority was involved in the event.

“[The sorority] really emphasizes… how nice it is to give back and I figured a lot of people, for various reasons, can’t give back and since I’m eligible to, why not?” Duffield said.

In Missouri, donors must be at least 17-years-old (or 16-years-old with a signed consent form), weigh at least 110 pounds and and be in good health on the day of the donation. The blood donations can go to a variety of patients: car accident victims, cancer and heart disease patients and children with sickle-cell disease.

The donations collected during the blood drive stay within the Missouri/Illinois region. Junior Grace Corley is one of the Tri-Directors for the Homecoming Committee. Additionally, her role oversees the Blood Committee. Corley said she hopes the blood drive keeps its achievement of being the largest in the nation and said she appreciates the community coming together for a good cause.

“I think it’s great that people of all walks and from all over campus can come with a mutual goal of saving people’s lives,” Corley said.

One pint of blood is taken from the donor and, according to the American Red Cross website, one donation can save up to three lives. Blood and platelets cannot be manufactured, so blood transfusions rely on donors.

If someone is ineligible to donate, there are spots to volunteer, such as at the registration table or by handing out snacks at the canteen.

Sophomore Abby DeGroot has volunteered at the canteen for two years. This position involves handing out refreshments to donors and watching them to make sure they do not faint. DeGroot said the blood drive positively affects the community in that it can be something that almost everyone can be a part of.

“It helps everybody all over the state get the blood that they need and blood is something that everybody has and...not many people donate,” DeGroot said. “We have the largest [blood drive] in the nation so that’s a cool thing that we build into our homecoming.”

Edited by Morgan Smith | mosmith@themaneater.com

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