Fearful blood drive experiences drive people away

Emily Gibbens, Staff Writer

Natalie Murphy sat down for her interview immediately after her blood donation, and her first requests were donuts and water. The hydration and the sugary treat weren’t quite enough to keep her awake.

“Are you alright?” I asked.

Murphy shook her head and said “uh-uh,” and fell back in her chair.

This is the experience that many people fear when donating blood, but researchers from Eurekalert! Science News say this only happens to about 3 percent of people.

While many students and professors gathered to give back to their community by donating blood for the annual Homecoming Blood Drive, some went into the North Ballroom in Memorial Union Oct. 12 to conquer their biggest fears.

The drive was put on by Dak Minn Blood Bank because there is a continuous need for blood donations. Many surgeries, accidents, diseases and other events require blood transfusions. The only way some transfusions can occur is by acquiring donated blood of the correct blood type.

Blood drives that are hosted by colleges like the Homecoming Blood Drive at UND are especially important. According to the Red Cross, 20 percent of blood donations come from high school and college blood drives.

The website of University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) says the No. 1 reason people refuse to donate is they are afraid of needles.

Among those who donated was junior Nicole Bartholomay, a secondary science education major. She said she has been donating since she was in high school, and she started because her mom has always been a consistent donor. Bartholomay said she doesn’t think being afraid of needles is a good enough excuse for not donating. She used the opportunity of giving back to leap over her fear.

“It’s not as bad as you think,” Bartholomay said. “I hate shots and needles. What you’re doing is worth it. Saving someone’s life for one poke is a sacrifice I’m willing to make.”

Freshman Connor O’Brien, a criminal justice major, had some good advice for people who are nervous about needles.

“It only hurts right when it goes in. Don’t look at it,” O’Brien said. “Just go on your phone to take your mind off of it.”

Think of the bigger picture when you have the opportunity to donate blood.

“If you take time (and courage) to make one donation, you’ll wonder why you ever hesitated,” according to the UMMC website.

Murphy, a sophomore majoring in physical therapy, donated for the second time at the blood drive. Although her donation didn’t go quite as smoothly as she would have hoped, she said she doesn’t regret her decision to help save lives.

Despite that she momentarily passed out after her donation, Murphy said she isn’t going to let that one experience change her mind.

“I would absolutely donate again, but I would make sure to eat a better breakfast and lunch before donating,” Murphy said. “I think that a couple hours of maybe not feeling 100 percent is worth it if I can help out in any way.”

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, www.dakminnbloodbank.org. 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]