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UI vies in blood drive

BY KRISTIN LUTZ | JANUARY 20, 2010 7:30 AM

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UI sophomore Brittany Bruch may not make any plays on the field against other Big Ten athletes, but she is competing in the first American Red Cross Big Ten Blood Drive Challenge.

All 11 Big Ten schools will compete during the next month to see which can fill the most pints in blood donations. The UI was the first school to kick off the competition, starting Tuesday at the Field House.

“By helping out others in need, I hope that if I or a loved one were ever in a situation and needed blood, there would be donors similar to me willing to help,” Bruch said as she gave blood from her right arm.

She typically donates blood every two months, she said, but she didn’t hear about the challenge until she saw a poster hanging in Currier.

In November, officials from Big Ten universities chose two consecutive days to hold an on-campus blood drive. The UI hopes choosing the first days of the semester would result in more participants.

“Everybody picked today because students aren’t in class as long and the Field House is busier,” said Danielle Grabe, Red Cross blood services regional representative, noting the donation process only takes an hour.

But only 25 units were filled on Tuesday. Organizers said they’re hoping to collect 400 total.

Volunteers and participants said they’re hoping for more student support today after Tuesday’s low number of donors.

“We’re hoping for a better turnout [today] in hopes that Iowa can win, and thank you to everyone who participated,” said Grabe.

The Red Cross supplies 40 percent of the national blood products to hospitals throughout the United States.

Each person who donates equals one unit, and one unit can save three lives, said Judy Freiburger, a collections specialists and registered nurse with the Red Cross.

Officials from Big Ten and the Red Cross decided to team together because blood donations are typically low during winter, Grabe said.

Several students who donated Tuesday were returning donors, and they said they’ll try to recruit more students.

“I try to help out people as much as possible and thought this would be a good idea,” said UI freshman Darius Bowie.

Three schools will be awarded trophies — the one with the highest number of blood donations, the one with the highest percentage of student donors, and the one that is closest to meeting its goal.

The UI’s blood drive challenge will end at 5 p.m. today.

Individuals who weigh at least 110 pounds, are 17-years-old, and are in good health are eligible to donate blood. The Red Cross needs all blood types. A blood donor card, driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required.


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