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UMD students, faculty and staff meet MBC's donation goal once again

Sarah Hasselquist
Posted March 7, 2006.

Two UMD students relaxed in plastic chairs inside the large van, eyeing each other up and comparing their times. Ben Turner: 5:17.00. Dan Blascyk: 5:14.00.

“The reigning champ – and he’s still wearing pink!? said Turner with a smile, gesturing to Blascyk’s stunningly hot pink, 2-inch wide, elastic armband wrapped around his left elbow.

Turner and Blascyk are two of the 26 donors who visited the Memorial Blood Centers bloodmobile parked outside of the UMD Medical School Tuesday, Feb. 21, to give blood.

The two nurses in the bloodmobile had a busy day with donors coming in from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. The goal for the day was 23 donors, making the blood drive successful with a turnout of 26. But that is not so unusual; one of the nurses in the bloodmobile, Jill Faidley, said that it is usually not difficult to make the goal when the MBC bloodmobile comes to UMD.

“It’s been a long day,? Faidley said with a smile and only four more donors left. Nodding to the next donor, she said, "He will be our goal; when he gives, we'll have made it."

It takes dedicated donors like Dr. Janet Fitzakerley to make blood drives successful. Several years ago, she had donated blood regularly about four times each year.

“Just the right thing to do,? Fitzakerley said of donating blood while she rested in the front of the van. She, too, sported an elastic armband; it was her second time donating within the previous four months. “I have no reason not to. And what does it take, 30 or 45 minutes?? she said with a nonchalant shrug and a shake of her head.

But such a seemingly small act can be life-changing. According to the MBC Web site, one donation – that is, about one pint of blood – is enough to save three lives, and three gallons of blood is used every minute in the U.S.

“It’s always a need for blood,? said Inger Lauritsen, who worked at the MBC registration desk for the blood drive. “We’re constantly needing it.? Lauritsen was responsible for managing appointments, for fitting in walk-in donors and for completing about half of the paperwork for each donor.

The blood mobile from MBC comes to UMD once about every 56 days, which is the amount of time a person needs between donations. The first-time donor and “reigning champ? will probably donate the next time the blood mobile comes to UMD. He even went so far as to say that the experience was “fun?.

“It wasn’t any big deal. Didn’t hurt a bit, and I got free food!? Blascyk said as he pointed to the pretzels, chips, and cereal bars in small, blue Tupperware bins next to him.

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On the Net: MBC site: http://www.memorialbloodcenters.org/

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