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Domers donate blood, life

Kathleen McDonnell | Friday, January 27, 2006

Known for their commitment to charity and social awareness, Notre Dame community members showed up in droves to donate a part of themselves – their blood – to the South Bend Medical Foundation.

From 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, willing donors entered Rolfs Recreation Center to give their blood. The enthusiastic response of the Notre Dame community made for a successful drive this year, with 180 willing donors filling the project to capacity. RecSports helped coordinate this event with The South Bend Medical Foundation.

As of Tuesday morning, many appointment times were available – especially on that day. However, between walk-ins and phone calls for appointments, every time slot was quickly filled.

According to Assistant Director of RecSports Jennie Phillips, Notre Dame historically steps up to the occasion when blood is needed.

“The great thing about Notre Dame is the response. I am always impressed by people’s willingness to give,” Phillips said.

RecSports helps coordinate blood drives at least once per semester, but due to the mandatory 56-day period between donations per person, usually twice per semester is the maximum number hosted.

“Whenever The South Bend Medical Foundation needs blood, we can provide it,” Phillips said.

Phillips also said willing students often call RecSports wondering if a drive could include evening hours, as class schedules can impede a student from volunteering. She plans to look into this option as a way to involve even more students in the effort.

Besides being in good health, a volunteer needs to be 17 years of age and 110 pounds to donate. There are temporary deferrals for people who have traveled overseas or recently received a vaccination.

Freshman Emily Balthasan, a resident of Pasquerilla East, said she decided to donate because she knows her blood will go to people in need.

“It’s one of the easiest and fastest ways to volunteer,” she said. “The blood is invaluable, an always needed resource.”

Pangborn resident Tricia Hughes said she also thinks blood donation is of high value to the community.

“After all, what student has not been someone touched by the life of someone in need of blood?” Hughes said.

Hughes, who has donated twice this academic year alone, described the procedure as relatively painless and said the staff was caring and helpful. Hughes also said any discomfort donors may feel is greatly overshadowed by the rewards of donating.

“Donating blood is a great opportunity,” she said. “I feel great the rest of the day knowing that I have helped increase someone’s chances of survival.”