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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA students are saving lives one pint at a time

    Francisco+Vasquez%2C+a+freshman+pre-business+student%2C+donates+plasma+on+Highland+Avenue+on+Tuesday%2C+Sept.+13.+Vasquez+donates+as+often+as+he+can+in+the+memory+of+his+grandfather%2C+who+suffered+from+Leukemia.
    Tom Price
    Francisco Vasquez, a freshman pre-business student, donates plasma on Highland Avenue on Tuesday, Sept. 13. Vasquez donates as often as he can in the memory of his grandfather, who suffered from Leukemia.

    Amidst the hubbub of burrito-eaters and speeding bikers, the Highland District filled up with student blood donors Tuesday afternoon.

    The Highland District community blood drive, held 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., remained open not only to students, but all members of the community.

    The organization who hosted the drive, United Blood Services, is the largest non-profit community blood provider in Arizona, operating six donor centers in the metro-Phoenix area.

    “We host about 10 different blood drives across state every single day,” said Sue Thew, the public and media relations specialist for United Blood Services. “it takes about 500 blood donors to meet the needs of the 64 hospitals we serve and that’s a lot of blood drives.”

    The amount of donors varies based upon location, but high school and college campuses consistently prove to have the highest amount of donations.

    “I am really pleased to say our largest donor group is teens,” Thew said. “They are very enthusiastic donors and they are all healthy. Last year, high school blood drives brought in more than 21,000 blood donations; we couldn’t get by without them.”

    Thew said that teens provide one out of every six donations given in Arizona, and that’s why it’s part of why she loves what she does.

    “Both my parents were blood recipients, which really brought it close to home so when I’m working I think about how every transfusion out there could be somebody else’s father or mother that is alive today because someone gave blood,” Thew said.

    Bruised arms and a woozy head are often the minor casualties in the business of donating blood, but for some students, this remains a minor price to pay for the impact that their blood has in the lives of those who need it.

    “This is my seventh time giving blood,” said pre-business freshman Francisco Vasquez. “I give because my grandfather had leukemia and received many blood donations during that time, probably six or seven times a month.”

    Based upon the type of donation, the blood appointments could last anywhere from 10 minutes to two hours. Vasquez proudly displayed his donor ID card during his plasma donation.

    “I just wanted to give back because the people who donated for [my grandfather] did something big for him by prolonging his life and I can now give back as a repayment to those people,” Vasquez said.

    The plethora of student and community involvement on campus enticed community leaders to provide opportunities like this that encourage students to branch out and make a difference.

    Nathan Miglich, the community director for Colonia De La Paz, aided in organizing and advertising this particular drive.

    ”We believe our students understand the importance of giving back, and wanted to provide them the opportunity to do so in a meaningful way,” Miglich said.

    In addition to providing an outlet for active community outreach, there remains a variety of benefits for students beyond the pack of free Oreos they receive after finishing their donation.

    “When it comes to schools, it’s a really great opportunity for students to learn leadership skills in the process of planning, organizing [and] publicizing blood drives,” Thew said. “It gives them real life experience that not only prepares them for when they graduate or out in the working population but also makes a huge difference in the community.”

    United Blood Services is constantly in search of donors, especially for the holiday season. For any questions or to make a blood donation appointment, the organization can be reached at 1-877-UBS-HERO (827-4376) or www.bloodhero.com.


    Follow Lindsey Otto on Twitter 


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