Giving blood for UND homecoming

Emily Gibbens, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, Oct 12, there will be a Homecoming Blood Drive put on by Dak Minn Blood Bank in the North Ballroom of the Memorial Union. With a photo I.D., you can stop in to donate without an appointment anytime from 11 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.

I believe this is a great way to raise awareness and to get donations from people who normally wouldn’t go out of their way to give blood. It is a lot easier for students to make time for something that is right on campus; I believe it will also get people to donate spontaneously. Usually you don’t accidentally wander into a blood bank, but when it is happening in the Memorial Union, the chances of that are greatly increased.

I urge everyone to go and donate. Even if you’ve never done it before, or if needles are your biggest fear. Go give it a try because every time you donate blood you are potentially saving three lives.

There is a continuous need for blood donations. Many surgeries, accidents, diseases, and other events require blood transfusions. The only way those transfusions can occur is by acquiring donated blood of the correct blood type.

I started donating blood when I turned 16. My mom, aunts, and grandparents are all blood donors. Every few weeks, they’d all have the brightly- colored bands on their arms, so I was curious about it. Because I grew up watching them, I thought it was the norm for everyone old enough to donate blood, but unfortunately that is not the case. Only about 38 percent of the population in America is eligible to donate. Within that 38 percent, less than 10 percent actually donate.

When you donate blood, they will ask you a series of questions, and then check your vitals like your pulse, blood pressure, and temperature. Then they will prick your finger to check your hemoglobin. Just by donating, yuu get to find out your blood type, if you didn’t already know it, your hemoglobin levels, your cholesterol, and a few other things. I found out I was iron-deficient anemic which is something I may have never known had I not been donating. It isn’t a replacement for a check-up at the hospital by any means, but it is a free mini check-up to make sure that some of your basic vitals are in check.

When the questions and check-up are over, you get to start the donation. I know a big reason many don’t donate is because they don’t like needles, but seriously who actually likes needles? In my honest opinion, the needle for the quick finger prick to check my hemoglobin hurts worse than the needle for donating. It is a slight pinch right as they are putting the needle in your arm, and then you can’t even feel it at all for the next few minutes of the donation. Plus, this is the perfect opportunity to conquer your fear of needles. It’s free, you’re giving back, you get to a health check-up, and you get a free t-shirt.

You’re uncomfortable for 10 minutes of your life to save three people’s lives. I think the tiny pinch is worth it. It’s not every day you get to potentially save a life.

After the donation process is finished, you have to eat a small snack that they provide, and wait around for 10 to 15 minutes just to make sure everything is alright. The entire process takes anywhere from 30 minutes to just over an hour.

If you visit the American Red Cross website, you can find stories from blood donors. I was reading through them, and this particular quote said by Nagesh, a man from India, really stuck with me.

“The blood you donate gives someone another chance at life. One day that someone may be a close relative, a friend, a loved one—or even you.”

After hearing how easy donating is, the perks that come with it, and the lives you could save, if you still aren’t convinced, do it for the feeling of fulfillment. I can promise you that when you’ve finished the quick process, you will leave feeling better than you felt when you went in. To know you may have just saved a baby or a father or sister is a pretty amazing feeling.

If you are interested in donating blood or if you want to learn more, you can always go to the Dak Minn Blood Bank located at 3375 Demers Ave. They are open every day of the week, and you can check their hours out on their website, They always accept walk-ins, or you can call to make an appointment at 701-780-5433.

Emily Gibbens is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]