MU hosts largest student-run blood drive in U.S. for 33rd year

Over 900 people donated blood each day during the annual Homecoming blood drive at the Hearnes Center.

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MU’s 33rd annual Homecoming blood drive was held on Oct. 8-11 in the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse. Over 900 people donated blood each day and hundreds of people volunteered as part of the largest student-run blood drive in the country. Many students got involved in any way they could, like junior Kaitlyn Duchild.

“I tried to donate blood on Tuesday, but I got deferred so I decided to come back and volunteer the next day instead,” Duchild said. “I love this event, and I wanted to be part of it in some way.”

The MU blood drive was a machine. They had appointments, accepted walk-ins and the drive was open to MU students and the public. There were different organized checkpoints to go through before the donors were actually laying on beds. Senior Brody Kitchell said the process made it easier to want to donate blood.

“I hate needles, and I usually hate to donate blood,” Kitchell said. “But this event is only once a year, and they make it so simple that it’s easier to reason with yourself that you can do it once a year. And then it feels great because they tell you that you just saved three lives.”

MU partnered with the Red Cross for the 33rd year to organize the drive so the blood donated can go to people in need all throughout Missouri. There was a sea of nurses in Red Cross uniforms there to collect as much blood as possible and to make people who were donating as comfortable as can be. Nurse Thomasina Knighten said this is one of her favorite blood drives to work for.

“I work drives all day every day, but I like this one in particular because it’s truly a community event,” Knighten said. “I got into this line of work to help people, and this drive alone will do a lot of helping.”

Students donated blood for a variety of reasons, whether it be because an organization they are a part of encouraged it or because they just felt like it. But for some students, like junior Briana Gafford, donating is for a more personal reason.

“I donate every year because my brother has cancer,” Gafford said. “So I know how much patients like him need people to donate blood. This is a way I can help people like him.”

The official announcement of how many people donated and how many units of blood were collected will be made during Homecoming festivities.

Edited by Alexandra Sharp | asharp@themaneater.com

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