Oklahoma Blood Institute: Taking Time to Donate

Temilade Adelusi
Staff Writer

Members of the Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI), in conjunction with Cameron University, hosted their quarterly blood drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 16 in the McMahon Centennial Complex. Students, faculty and staff came out in large numbers to support the blood donor challenge.

Mary Spannagel, senior account manager at the OBI, said it is essential for people to donate blood to those in need.

“We have to have 100 pints of blood in order to be able to supply our hospitals and patients who need blood,” Spannagel said, “so it is definitely important for people to know that we can only get blood from other people and there is no synthetic replacement for it.”

Spannagel said OBI faces a lot of challenges when it comes to getting people to donate blood.

“Probably the biggest challenge is getting the word out to people to donate blood, basically a lot of them have never been asked to donate blood,” she said.

According to obi.org, every two seconds, someone needs blood, yet less than ten percent of the 38% eligible people actually donate blood.

Spannagel said the blood drive at Cameron is effective because students tell other students about it.

“At every blood drive we have at Cameron, there is a group that sponsors it and helps us get the word out,” she said. “They put up all the posters and recruit our donors, that’s why it works, because its college students asking other students to donate blood.”
Spannagel also encouraged other students who have never donated before to make it a point to do so.

“Usually what I hear is people are afraid and what I tell people is to remember the kids that are suffering from cancer – they get stuck and prodded trying to live,” she said. “Some one can spend 45 minutes to save someone else’s live and I always say, ‘What if it was you or your loved ones?’”

The American Red Cross statistics have also shown that 1.66 million people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2016. Many of whom will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment. Also, a single blood donation can save up to three people’s lives.

Joy Delapaz, a nursing student at OU College of nursing said she came to the blood drive because her friend suggested it to her.

“Its been a little while since my last donation,” Delapaz said, “I used to donate pretty regularly – platelets, red cells, pack cells – and I used to be at med tech. Now am in nursing school, so I kind of feel it’s a responsibility for me since I am in health care to do my part.”

Delapaz also said the blood banks always need blood.

“Working in the lab in a blood bank, we always experience shortages,” Delapaz said, “and I just think that we are always in the state of need for blood, and it’s really important, especially when you think of your families. One day they may need it.”

Mike Peace said he came for the blood drive because a donation can always help someone.

“There is [sic] lots of kids out there who need blood,” Peace said, “so it’s good to help out.”

For more information about about the OBI of Lawton, contact (580) 353-6451 or customerservice@obi.org.

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