The Collegian

9/8/04 • Vol. 129, No. 7

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Today’s blood drive: an opportunity to save lives

Today's blood drive: an opportunity to save lives

One hour might not seem like much, but it may mean the difference between life and death for some people.

In one hour, blood can be donated to save the lives of people with diseases such as leukemia.

“When you give one hour of your time and one pint of your blood, you are saving a person or extending their life,” said Chris Sorensen, director of community relations at Central California Blood Center.

Possible donors will have the opportunity to save lives today and Thursday when the CCBC comes to the University Student Union.

From 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., about 30 CCBC staff members and six volunteers from Fresno State will be drawing blood in hopes of getting 400 donors, said Chris Fiorentino, director of civic engagement and students for community service.

Fiorentino said they usually average between 300 and 400 donors at each drive, with most people giving about a Enroll at pint of blood.

Every day CCBC needs to draw 250 pints of blood to collect the 5,000 to 6,000 pints needed every month to serve the 31 hospitals in the five-county area, Sorensen said.

Sorensen said the Central Valley donor base is very generous, and the CCBC usually keeps a bit ahead of the demand for blood.

The highest number of recipients of the donated blood are those with leukemia, Fiorentino said. It’s also used for accident victims and surgeries.

The process of donating blood takes about an hour.

In order to be eligible, a donor must weigh more than 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old.

The process begins with a brief registration and then moves on to screening questions, both oral and written. Iron levels, blood pressure and pulse are then checked before donors are allowed to give blood.

Once at the donation chair, a needle is inserted into one of the veins in the donor’s arm and a unit of blood is drawn. Sorensen said that it usually takes less than seven minutes to actually have the blood drawn.

After the unit is drawn, donors go to a refreshment area where Twinkies and a variety of other snack foods and drinks await them.

Donors also receive coupons from retailers around the area, including a free pint of ice cream from BaskinRobbins.

Possible donors might worry about side effects, but Sorensen said there are usually no reactions except for rare times when someone gets dizzy because they didn’t eat enough or drink enough water.

Donors should eat a good meal and drink plenty of water four hours before donation, according to the CCBC.

Three more blood drives will be held this school year in November, February and April, but blood can be donated anytime at the CCBC, which has locations in Fresno, Visalia and Porterville.

Blood can only be donated every eight weeks, because it takes time for a pint of blood to replenish in the body.