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Monday, September 21, 2020

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Cougars bleed for patients in need


The UH Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers organized a campus blood drive Thursday.

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center provided the medical services for the drive, which The Blood Center’s Elizabeth Garcia said will make an immediate difference helping to save dozens of lives.

‘Just one donation helps save three lives, so (the donations) will obviously go a long way,’ diversity public relations associate Garcia said. ‘Most assume the blood is only for accident victims, but everyday there are hundreds of cancer patients and premature births that will need the donations.’

A preliminary total of 25 students donated a pint of their blood and an hour of their time outside of Agnes Arnold Hall during the six-hour event.

Garcia said the donations primarily service Texas Medical Center institutions and are needed from ‘here up to Brazos.’

SHPE Treasurer KyOnese Taylor said she is pleased with the reception among her club and the student populace.

‘I’m really happy people are taking the time to donate. I’m never sure what to expect, but the excitement everyone has shown makes me so proud to be a part of (the blood drive),’ Taylor said.

SHPE also sponsored a blood drive in September 2008 following Hurricane Ike.

SHPE President Kevin Rodriguez said an overwhelming reception forced the organization to ‘push people away’ last September. They collected 38 units of blood during the drive, 10 more than they expected.

Rodriguez said the timing of the event after Hurricane Ike last September was pure coincidence, but its success made another blood drive necessary.

‘Last year the event was really successful with a lot of people willing to give back. This is a great cause and a great opportunity, so it made sense to do it again,’ Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said SHPE welcomed all students to donate, but The Blood Center reported that Hispanics who donated blood often make a unique contribution.

The Blood Center report said more than 50 percent of Hispanics have Type O blood.

Type O blood is also the blood type in greatest demand. Type O-negative, known commonly as the ‘universal donor,’ is used when there is not enough time to determine a patient’s blood type before a transfer.

Students who did not donate Thursday can visit any of the 15 donor centers located throughout the city.

Garcia said a three-day supply of blood is always needed in the event of emergencies, and hospitals typically account for the supply.

Students who donate are encouraged to eat iron-rich foods such as red meat and leafy vegetables prior to donating.

Garcia also said some people are reluctant to donate because of misconceptions.

‘A lot of people think that if you’re taking a certain medication or have a certain illness you can’t donate, but a lot of that is myth,’ Garcia said. ‘Another is if you donate once, there’s no need to donate again. But there’s always a need.’

Garcia added she is impressed with the response at UH.

‘Whenever we’ve done blood drives on the UH campus, especially after Hurricane Ike, when so many students lined up, they’ve been very receptive and willing to do their part to help the community,’ Garcia said.


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