Huskie 4000 blood drive seeks more donors

By Molly Statz

Just a few minutes of your time and one pint of blood is all it takes to save a life.

The Huskie 4000, however, will not kill any of its donors. The Huskie 4000 is sponsored by Heartland Blood Centers and is one of the safest ways to give blood.

There is no way to contract HIV from donating blood because each needle is used only once and then disposed.

Sheri Ransford, marketing representative for Heartland Blood Centers, stated in a press release, “716 people on campus have responded to the Huskie 4,000 so far this year, but that is down by 343 donations from last year at this time.”

Ransford also stated she is concerned about the fewer numbers of donors because blood shortages are severe nationwide.

To ensure the safety and well-being of both the donor and the recipient, a series of health-related questions and tests are run.

Questions include asking the weight and medical history of the donor. A donor must weigh more than 110 pounds and be in fairly good health. If the donor has been on antibiotics for any reason, they will be rejected.

Patricia Hewitt, NIU Blood Commission faculty adviser, said the tests include blood pressure and iron count. If the blood pressure is too high or the iron count is too low, which is anemia, the donor will not be able to give blood.

Being rejected is not the end of the world. Some of the most common reasons for not being able to donate are because of poor health. The time it takes to get over a cold or flu is the amount of time needed to try and donate again.

After successfully giving blood, the donor will be able to sit, relax and get fluid and food into their system. The donor will have to wait eight weeks before giving blood again.

Hewitt said, “It is best to wait eight weeks so the body has time to build up the blood it lost.”

The Huskie 4000 will continue into May. At the end of the blood drive all the donations will be added up. Awards will be given to the residence hall and the organization with the highest percent of donors.

To date, Grant South is in the lead with 105 pints. Neptune (96) is in second and Douglas (95) is a close third. Gilbert (63), University Plaza (68) and Grant North (69) are trailing slightly.

Stevenson North is not ranked because its first drive was Oct. 25 and 26 from 2:30 to 7 p.m. Stevenson South will hold its first drive Nov. 2 and 3 from 2:30 to 7 p.m.

Hewitt said the blood commission would like to have one drive in each residence hall each semester. “We will continue the blood drive after the semester break. There will be one during break after the students leave but that is mostly for the faculty.”

If there are any questions, call Sheri Ransford at 1-800- 786-4483 or contact the NIU Blood Commission.