Last Wednesday, Simpson College competed in the 2nd annual Blood Battle between Simpson, Central College and Buena Vista University. While Central College technically won based on the ratio of number of students to the amount of blood given, Simpson donated the most pints and currently holds the travelling trophy.
The Blood Battle is sponsored by Delta Delta Delta. Senior and vice president of public relations for Tri-Delta, Trina Elam, suggested the blood drive for the sorority. She felt it would be a great fit for their philanthropy: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“I like organizing blood drives, so I thought why not get Tri-Delta doing it. It’s good because some of the blood goes to cancer patients, which fits in with our philanthropy at St. Jude,” Elam said.
Blood Battle is set-up through LifeServe Blood Center based out of Des Moines. According to Rachel Panzi, Simpson’s LifeServe representative, LifeServe supplies blood to hospitals in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. Hospitals call and request the kind of blood they need, and hopefully LifeServe has it and will be able to send it to them.
“Hospitals used to collect their own blood and recruit their own donors and do everything themselves. We make it easier for them and that way they don’t have to worry about it,” Panzi said.
Blood is one of the most valuable medical supply resources because there is no substitute for it. According to LifeServe, blood is needed every two seconds. The most common use of blood is for cancer patients.
Each pint of blood can save up to three lives, but there are certain blood types which are needed more often than others. Mimi Kilburn, a staff member at the blood drive, expressed the need for O- blood type. O- can be received by someone with any blood type, but O- can only receive that type, and only seven percent of the population is O-.
“O- is always a donation we’re looking for. That’s the universal blood type. Everyone can receive it,” Kilburn said.
There are also requirements in order to be able to donate. The person must weigh 120 pounds, have a form of identification, a certain blood pressure and various other requirements. Only 38 percent of the population is actually eligible to donate, and less than 10 percent of those donate.
When donating, there are different procedures LifeServe performs. One is whole blood donations, which take everything that comes out of the vein. Another is a double red procedure. This procedure runs the blood through a system that collects only the red blood cells and puts the rest back into the blood stream.
“Double red is beneficial for patients in the hospital because then they can use blood from one donor instead of several, so it lessens the risk of reaction for the patient,” Kilburn said.
This year, LifeServe came to Simpson hoping to improve on last year’s total of 50 blood donations: 43 whole blood donations and seven double red donations. The goal was 76 total with 66 whole blood donations and 10 double red donations.
Simpson was able to beat their goal this year, and a total of 87 units of blood were donated last week. One of the people who donated was sophomore Rachel Farner.
“I’ve donated blood five times,” she said. “I recommend eating a big juicy burger and fries before you go. Eat a lot of greasy foods!”
Staff members also want to make it clear that giving blood is not a scary process. There are tips to get someone through the donation and they emphasized that more blood is always needed.
“Always donate. You never know when you’re going to need blood or when a family member is going to need it,” Kilburn said.
38% are O+
34% are A+
9% are B+
7% are O-
6% are A-
3% are AB+
2% are B-
1% are AB-
LifeServe donation line: 800-287-4903
* CORRECTION Oct. 2: This article originally misreported the college that won based on ratio of number of students to amount of blood given. The correct school is Central College. We regret the error.