UNB students rolled up their sleeves to give the gift of life

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On Friday, Sept. 28, Canadian Blood Services brought their mobile blood unit to UNBSJ for the second annual blood drive. Students came out in groups and were lined up outside of the gym doors waiting to give.

Samantha Tinker, a UNBSJ student and organizer of the blood drive, says it’s important to bring the mobile clinic to campus to motivate students. “University is really busy, you’re stressed out, it’s not the first thing on your mind to go down and give blood, but when it comes to you it’s a lot easier to do,” she says, “It fosters more of a community atmosphere, it sponsors volunteerism and gives people the opportunity to go and do something for others.”

Right now, Canada is in active blood signal mode, meaning that the need for blood is very high. Every 60 seconds someone in Canada needs blood. It can take up to 50 donors to save a car accident victim and up to five donors to treat a cancer patient. Tom Bishop, Canadian Blood Service’s community development coordinator for the Saint John area, says that the need for new blood donors is crucial, “We have a good donor base,” he says “but as our regular donors start to age, they’re going to be the people that need blood, so we need the youth.”

The reality is that one in every two Canadians are able to give blood, but only one in 60 actually donate. With such a crucial need for donors, the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) has generously donated a $250 tuition credit to be drawn amongst the students who donated. On top of that, Dominos Pizza donated 10 free pizzas and a few professors are even handing out bonus marks to students that donate.

UNBSJ is part of a program called Partners for Life, which means that it pledges a certain amount of blood every year. “UNBSJ pledged to donate something like 30 units [of blood] last year,” says Bishop, “we’re already [at] 200 per cent of our goal, which is fantastic!”

Everyone involved was very impressed with how things went. “I think the students at UNBSJ are unbelievable,” says Bishop, “Compared to other schools, [UNBSJ] is head and shoulders above the rest. When you have line ups of 10, 15, 20 people waiting to [give blood], it shows [that] the [students] here really take the cause to heart.”

Any students unable to donate at the mobile clinic are invited to give at the permanent clinic on University Avenue, open Monday and Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments can be booked online at blood.ca or at 1-888-2-donate. Walk-ins are also welcome. Be sure to mention being a UNB student to help UNBSJ reach its goal for 2012.