Student Blood Services holds quarterly blood drive

Dozens of students arrived at Norris University Center Wednesday with more plans than just grabbing lunch or meeting friends; they came to donate blood through NU Student Blood Services to LifeSource blood center on the first day of a two day donation drive.

In total the blood donations could save hundreds of lives, said Alex Feder, president of Student Blood Services. The quarterly blood drive collects donated blood that is used for patients in Chicago and its surrounding areas. Each pint of donated blood can save three lives, Feder, a Weinberg senior, said.

“In my opinion, blood drives are a vital cause in the community,” Feder said. “In our country and in industrialized nations, there is a chronic shortage of blood to use in hospitals. Sometimes, trauma centers aren’t able to do surgeries right when they need to be done because there isn’t enough blood available.”

This year, Feder expects about 140 students will volunteer to donate blood, though only about 40 had donated as of Wednesday afternoon.

The number could fluctuate because some students with appointments or who walk in to donate could be deferred for reasons such as low iron content or lack of overall nutrition.

Two years ago, an NU/Red Cross blood drive had to close early due to an “unusually high” proportion of donors fainting or vomiting. This LifeSouce blood drive has not had any problems, said Natalia Missler, a LifeSource health worker who draws blood.

“When they have problems, it’s because they don’t eat anything before they donate or don’t drink enough fluids,” Missler said. “You can get a nice flow going, but if you drink coffee before, it will dehydrate you.”

Feder said he thought it was important and unique that the LifeSource drive focuses on Chicago area hospitals specifically.He said if an NU student ever has to visit the Evanston hospital and receive a blood transfusion, they will probably receive blood from LifeSource’s blood bank.

Missler said she notices variations in deferral rates across Chicago. In certain areas of the city, students’ nutrition is generally lower and they do not have enough iron to donate.

“Recently we were at a high school, and we received half deferred and half accepted,” Missler said. “College students can be much better, though.”

Weinberg sophomore Gaurav Kikani has donated multiple times in the past and donated Wednesday. He said he makes sure to eat meals and drink plenty of fluids before donating, and he has never been deferred .

Feder said he thinks students should consider donating blood even if it would be their first time. He said the plasma is used for burn victims, the platelets are used for patients undergoing chemotherapy and the red blood cells are used for transfusions.

Students who donate also receive a free gift card to Andy’s Frozen Custard.

“It just seemed like such a simple procedure that could impact multiple lives,” Kikani said. “I don’t really lose much from doing it, and if I can help people at the same time, why not?”

[email protected]