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Tuesday, April 23, 2024
NEWS  |  CAMPUS

Blood drive comes to campus for National Blood Donor Month

<p>Santa Fe criminal justice junior Samantha Baker, 21, takes blood from UF advertising sophomore Tiffany Sanders, 19, who said she has given blood every two months since she started attending UF. "It's easy to just come in when you have a break from class," Sanders said.</p>

Santa Fe criminal justice junior Samantha Baker, 21, takes blood from UF advertising sophomore Tiffany Sanders, 19, who said she has given blood every two months since she started attending UF. "It's easy to just come in when you have a break from class," Sanders said.

The first time Bryan Agostini gave blood, he went with a group of friends when a collection truck came to his high school.

Now, the 21-year-old psychology junior is alone, staring out the back window when the monitor of the ALYX blood sorting machine starts beeping, signaling low pressure.

Agostini looks concerned.

"Need you to squeeze, buddy," one of the technicians said, pointing to the stress ball in Agostini's left hand.

The 10.8 fluid ounces of blood Agostini donated, as a part of National Blood Donor Month, will go to a nearby hospital.

Blood donation buses will be parked by Century Tower and on the North Lawn next to the Marston Science Library every day this week and the week of Jan. 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The North Lawn bus also will be on campus Jan. 17 and 18.

"We always have a need for blood. O negative and any type of B are always hard to get," said Kyle Boyton, a LifeSouth donor services specialist. "We can never get enough of those."

UF students provide between 30 and 40 percent of the blood donated in the North Central Florida region, providing a vital tool for Shands at UF and the other major hospitals in the area.

"Nine times out of 10, the blood will go to a trauma or a transplant patient," said Conrad Perez, LifeSouth mobile team leader and Gainesville firefighter. "A liver transplant might take as many as 45 units."

A standard unit of blood is about 500 mL (17 fluid ounces), Perez said, but since Agostini is type O, his blood is being filtered into a concentrated amount, due to its high demand.

Agostini squeezes and releases his hand, and more blood drifts into the buzzing machine as it sorts his red blood cells and removes plasma, which will be injected back into his body with a saline solution.

As the plasma and saline are pushed back, Agostini can feel it move up his arm.

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"I can see my vein pulsing with the machine when it returns," Agostini said. "It feels kind of weird."

After about 30 minutes, Agostini left with a new pair of flannel boxers, some crackers and a box of Gatorade.

Despite the odd feeling of the plasma in its re-entry and his unease with the noisy machine, Agostini said he'll donate again.

"If they can get this machine to stop beeping," he said, "then it would all be worth it."

Santa Fe criminal justice junior Samantha Baker, 21, takes blood from UF advertising sophomore Tiffany Sanders, 19, who said she has given blood every two months since she started attending UF. "It's easy to just come in when you have a break from class," Sanders said.

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