NIU competes with WIU in blood drive

By Lynn Hammarstrom

GIVE BLOOD! This is also the message given by the Aurora Area Blood Bank this month as it sponsors the second annual blood drive competition between NIU and Western Illinois University.

NIU, which won the contest last year, needs to have 2.9 percent of its total enrollment participate in the various blood drives on campus in order to win the contest, said Aurora Area Blood Bank representative Kris Stutzman. “That works out to be about 605 students giving blood,” she added.

“Because Western is a smaller school, they only need to have 375 donors to meet the 2.9 percent of total enrollment,” Stutzman said.

The first NIU blood drive of the month takes place today in Gilbert Hall. “We hope to have at least 45 students donate there,” she said.

Other drives scheduled for the month will be at Lincoln and Douglas halls on April 8, at the Holmes Student Center on April 17, at Grant South on April 20 and 21 and again at the Student Center on April 21.

Western will be holding one three-day drive at their student center on April 21, 22 and 23.

Stutzman said that often people don’t give blood because they don’t realize how much it is needed. “Ninety-five percent of us use blood or some blood product at some time in our lives, so that shows just how important it is that everyone that is eligible to give blood should consider becoming a donor,” Stutzman said.

Anyone who is at least 17 years old and weighs at least 110 pounds is eligible to give blood. This is about 60 percent of the population.

“Also, people should know that they can safely give blood every eight weeks. A lot of times people think that they have to wait longer,” Stutzman said.

People often wonder what happens to the blood they donate, she added. “Generally, the blood is broken down into its various parts and given to patients with different blood needs; plasma to burn victims, red blood cells to cancer patients and platelets to leukemia patients.”

Last year almost 9,000 people were helped because of the 3,000 donations given by NIU students and faculty. One of these is 3-year-old Zachary Zanzig, a hemophiliac whose life was saved through a blood transfusion made possible through the blood drives.