By ESTHER COVINGTO
BYU students have the opportunity this week to give a part of themselves to help others at the blood drive being held Monday through Wednesday on the first floor of the Wilkinson Center.
Intermountain Health Care of Utah is sponsoring the blood drive in an effort to collect enough blood for the summer season.
Karen Tribett, donor recruiter at IHC, said there is a blood shortage in the summer months for a variety of reasons.
“There are less people (students) around in the summers who donate blood. Also, there is a nationwide shortage because many people choose to have surgery during the summer months. And then there are also more accidents,” Tribett said.
Tribett said the need is greatest for O positive and O negative blood types because O blood is the universal donor and can go to almost anyone.
Rand Johnson, donor technician at IHC, said, “We have a mobile crew of about 10 people who travel the valley every day, as far west as Delta and as far south as Blanding, six hours away.
“I have found the response is the best within stakes and the colleges and universities.”
Matt McGhie, a 1989 BYU graduate, said he donates blood because it is needed.
“I donate because I know there is a need for blood, not for the thrill of seeing blood come out of your veins,” McGhie said.
Ruth Martin, a senior from Poll City, Ala., majoring in elementary education, said she originally donated blood to get out of school but now is a blood donor because it is a good thing to do.
“Maybe someday I’ll need blood, too, and I will feel worthy to receive blood because I know that I helped others by donating my blood,” Martin said.
Both Martin and McGhie said people do not donate blood for a variety of reasons.
“People don’t donate because they are too busy or afraid to donate,” McGhie said.
“Some can’t donate because of medical reasons, and some are afraid of getting diseases.”
Glenn Jacobson, registered nurse and donor supervisor at IHC, said people cannot get diseases from donating blood.
“Blood donation is very safe. We use new sterile products for each donor, which eliminates any possibility of contacting a disease,” said Jacobson.
Tribett said there are 20,000 units of blood donated in Utah each year. About 300 units are needed each day.
Johnson said the blood donated is used within 30 days or it is discarded.
“The donated blood is separated into three parts — red blood cells, platelets, and plasma. The plasma can be frozen up to one year and then used, but the red blood cells and platelets are only good for a limited period of time,” Johnson said.
“If they are not used within that time, we throw the supply out,” he said.
Johnson said many people can donate, although there are certain requirements donors must meet in order to donate.
“Being in certain countries within three years can prevent a person from donating.
” In addition, medical problems or illnesses, certain medications, age and weight limits, and some lifestyles make it impossible for a person to donate,” Johnson said