100 pints of blood
NCCU blood drive has big goals
Published: Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, September 8, 2010 09:09
In honor of 100 years of "truth and service," N.C. Central University's Department of Public Health Education wants the student body to celebrate by donating 100 pints of blood a day.
This year's blood drive theme is "Centennial Twins — NCCU and Sickle Cell Disease."
Seronda Robinson, assistant professor of public health, is the coordinator of the blood drive, which runs Sept. 14 – Sept. 16 in the Miller-Morgan Building.
"Since our University is 100 and it's been 100 years since the discovery of sickle cell disease, that's why the blood drive theme is ‘centennial twins'," said Robinson.
"September is also National Sickle Cell Month," she said. "African-Americans suffer disproportionately from sickle cell and blood transfusions."
Sickle cell anemia is a disease in which the body creates sickle-shaped red blood cells instead of normal disk-shaped cells.
The sickle-shaped red blood cells form clumps and stick inside blood vessels.
The blocked blood flow can cause severe pain and can damage organs.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in the United States the disease occurs predominately in African-Americans. Between 50,000 and 60,000 black Americans live with sickle-cell anemia.
"During this month's blood drive we want people to learn about sickle cell, but there will also be an opportunity for students to enter bone marrow and organ donation registries," Robinson said.
Students donating blood need to bring a photo ID. All donors are entered into a drawing for an iPod Touch.
Students receive community service hours for donations and are strongly encouraged to invite family, friends and the community.
Some blood types are more needed than others, according to Lois Pettiford, administrative secretary with public heath education.
"We always need O positive, O negative, and A positive."
The American Red Cross's Web site states that only 3 out of every 100 Americans donate blood.
Pettiford said each pint of blood taken from donors could save up to three lives. Robinson said the University collected close to 1,500 pints during last year's blood drives.
Blood drives have been a part of NCCU since the 1950s, according to Robinson.
"It started as part of the community health education class when 37 pints were collected. Now we've become a national model drive, particularly for HBCUs."
Robinson said because NCCU students giving blood are traditionally iron-deprived, they should eat plenty of red meats, vegetables and nuts to increase their iron intake.
She also suggested that students decrease their caffeine intake before giving blood.
"This year students are allowed to give ‘double blood' or two pints instead of one," Pettiford said.
Donors also need to know the importance of being well-hydrated when giving blood.
Drinking lots of water is also important, Pettiford said.
"The last time I gave blood it only took five minutes because I was well hydrated. It normally takes me about 20 minutes to give blood. Being hydrated makes it go smoother."
The Red Cross also provides light refreshments for donors.
NCCU's blood drive coordinator before Robinson was health education professor Ted Parrish.
Parrish managed NCCU's blood drives since the 1980s, but suffered a brain injury from a fall this summer and is in rehabilitation.
Pettiford said she knows the significance of donating blood, explaining she once needed a blood transfusion after a tubal pregnancy.
"They had to go all the way to Greensboro to get the blood," she said.
"You're laying there on that bed and you're thinking are they going to get it in time?"
The blood drive hours are Tuesday, Sept. 14 from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 15 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Thursday, Sept. 16 from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.