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February 5, 2007
Some say they don't have time. Others say they're afraid of needles. Others say they're sickened by the sight of blood. However, if students, faculty and staff take ten minutes to face those fears and donate blood this week, they can walk away knowing their painful, scary experience has helped save someone's life.
From Feb. 5 until Feb. 9, the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity is sponsoring a blood drive with United Blood Services in the Jot Travis Student Union.
"At this time we really don't have enough blood," said Michael Cabrera, blood drive assistant for United Blood Services-Reno. "The center needs to bring in about 52 units a day and right now we aren't meeting that."
At the University's last blood drive in October, 312 units were donated. Cabrera said that UBS hopes to collect at least 350 units this time around.
"The University has an enrollment of about 16,000 students, so 350 people is barely over two percent of the school's population," Cabrera said.
Donated blood is given to a variety of patients with many different needs. According to national statistics, about 23 percent of donated blood goes to general surgery patients, 15 percent goes to general medical patients, 11 percent goes to patients with bone problems and diseases and nine percent goes to patients with blood diseases. The remainder of the blood goes to accidents, emergencies, pregnancy, childbirth, pediatrics, intensive care and other patients in need.
According to Cabrera, people with O-type blood are the hardest to find. People with O negative blood are especially encouraged to donate because their blood type is considered the universal donor. National statistics say that blood centers often run short of types O and B blood.
After the blood drive, the blood will be taken to United Blood Services' main office. It is then tested for blood type and a variety of diseases including HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis and some other diseases to ensure that the blood is safe. The blood is sometimes separated into particular components such as red cells, plasma and platelets. It is then stored until it is ready to be taken to hospitals.
"UBS-Reno serves hospitals in most of Nevada and some parts of Northern California too," Cabrera said
According to Cabrera, hospitals give UBS an estimate of the amount of blood they will need for a period of time. There is also somebody on staff at UBS 24 hours a day, seven days a week for emergencies, he said.
Those unable to attend the blood drive on campus are always invited to donate at United Blood Services' Reno office. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Although donors are encouraged to call and make an appointment, walk-ins are always accepted.
"I think this one of the most important things the campus does because it directly relates to saving lives and helping people who really need help," said Cody Wagner, Sigma Phi Epsilon president.