Julia Green, Staff Writer

Once again, the annual Winter Blood Drive finally had begun at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. It started at 10 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m. in the Millennium Student Center Century Rooms.

According to www.BloodCenter.org, statistics have shown that “about 1 in 7 patients require a blood transfusion. More than 4.5 million people in the U.S. need blood transfusions each year.”

Karen Dickinson, 56, a graduate of the University of Missouri–Columbia, works for the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center as a donor relations consultant. “This position acts as a liaison between the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center and schools and businesses in St. Louis and surrounding areas,” she stated. “Some patients have lost blood due to accidents or surgery, so blood helps replace what they have lost. Other people need blood transfusions to help their blood supply keep them healthy.”

Studies have shown that “type O-Negative donors are universal donors. This means that their red blood cells can be transfused to any patient, regardless of the recipient’s blood type.”

Also, everyone should know that Blood Centers have statistics that read “an adult has approximately 10-12 pints of blood.” When asked what the minimum and maximum amounts of blood are that are donated, Dickinson said, “Typically, it is one pint of whole blood that is collected. We also have a machine that collects a pint of double red cells only.”

Blood donors save lives.

Lexi Ozee, 19, a student in Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville, Illinois also works for Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center as a collection specialist. Ozee said, “I really like helping people, and I really want to be in the medical field; this is a good fit for me.”

Dickinson said, “I think it’s helpful to save lives in our community by donating blood.” They are inspired to support such a cause. She said, “The minimum that a person can donate is for 60 milliliters. The maximum a person can donate is 530 milliliters, according to how much blood is donated during one donor’s session.”

Both Dickinson and Ozee are blood donors themselves. Dickinson donates blood as often as she can. Ozee has been donating blood for three years since she was 16 years old.

There are several statistics about donating blood and blood types. Ozee said, “O-negative is the blood type that can go to anybody, and the AB negative is the rarest blood type.”

Remember, it is important to eat food before and after donating blood. Ozee said, “Eat before donating so that you don’t risk passing out. Eat after as well so that during the day you feel okay.”

Patients can recover by receiving blood donations in important ways. “Trauma patients need blood and cancer patients can get blood as well. Women who have gone through a C-section during labor can get blood,” said Ozee.

Both Ozee and Dickinson have been employed at the medical company, Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center for quite some time. Ozee has been employed there for four months and Dickinson has been employed there for three and a half years.

Ozee’s job experience entails that of ownership. “It took three months worth of training before I got to practice on my own. It’s been very good. It is a welcoming environment to work in.” Dickinson said, “I set up blood drives at schools and companies to help keep needed blood on the hospital shelves for patients in need.

There are primary duties that both Ozee and Dickinson have while working in the medical field. Ozee said, “Registering donors, putting them in the system, taking vitals, blood pressure, pulse, temperatures, and doing the iron check. The iron check is the hemoglobin, the protein in the red blood cells. Doing the donation. Taking the blood. Sticking people is what we call that.”

Dickinson said, “I work with blood drive coordinators to recruit blood donors.”

“If you’re a blood donor, you’re a hero to someone, somewhere, who received your gracious gift of life.” –Anonymous