A back to school blood drive was hosted by the Lady Tiger’s Softball Team and the American Red Cross Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Tiger’s Den in the Student Union Building.

Shonna Tatum, UWA’s fitness and aquatics coordinator, has been affiliated with the American Red Cross for almost 40 years and is in charge of the university’s blood drives. She said, “The amount of blood that we have donated today will save 240 people in three days.

Tatum said the blood goes right to the areas where the people in this county would normally go to the hospital such as Meridian, Tuscaloosa and Birmingham.

One softball player, Audrey Diekmann, said she thought it would be a great opportunity to volunteer. She said the team sadly could not give blood because of practice that afternoon but they recruited donors. When asked why others should give blood she said, “to help save lives.”

Kim Herbert, an American Red Cross nurse, said the process takes about five minutes to donate blood and 30 minutes to donate double red cells. She said they take about one pint of blood along with six test tubes. She said you have to be a negative blood type or O positive to give double red cells.

One student who gave blood, Ashton Linder, said, “When my cousin was younger, she was in a very bad car accident and she would have never made it without a blood transfusion …Giving blood saves lives.”

Herbert said, “There are side effects to giving blood such as profusely sweating and passing out. You want to have a balanced breakfast and lunch and stay hydrated.”

Linder said she has given blood once before but she almost passed due to not eating beforehand. She said this time she prepared by eating a big lunch and drinking a lot of water.

Another student, Jack Key, said he was feeling icy after donating his double red cells because of the plasma in his veins. He said, “Most people just donate blood, but not a lot of people donate red cells so this was just a little something I could give.”

When asked why others should give blood he said there are a lot of times when sometimes enough just isn’t enough and people need as much blood as they can get.

Herbert said anyone can give blood as long as you are 16 with parental consent, healthy, and a certain weight depending on the person. She said you can donate whole blood every 56 days and double red cells every 112 days.

Tatum said that all the thanks goes to the softball team for their help in the recruitment of donors, coach Carie Dever-Boaz and her staff, and the basketball girls who helped out.

There will be another blood drive in October which will be hosted by the SGA. If you would like to find a blood drive in your area, you can go to the website www.redcross.org.

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