Donating blood got a lot easier for OSU students when the Bedlam Blood Battle kicked off Monday, just creating a little innocent rivalry.
Megan Richter, an elementary education junior, says Oklahoma Blood Institute is hosting the event as a contest to see which school, Oklahoma State University or Oklahoma University, can donate the most blood.
“I really think OSU is going to win this year since we have won for the past two years,” Richter says. “It’s so amazing that we can use our rivalry for such a good cause and we can help so many people by doing something so simple by just giving blood.”
Students, faculty and Stillwater citizens can give blood at the Kerr-Drummond Mezzanine and Gallagher –Iba Arena in the East Lobby every day between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. This year, Oklahoma Blood Institute is going to be giving away free Hideaway pizza and shirts. Donors will be entered into a giveaway for two free tickets to the Bedlam game that will be held at Oklahoma University in Norman on Nov. 24, 2012.
Richter says most students are hesitant to give blood because they are scared of the needles; when what usually hurts the most is the finger prick they use to test a donor’s blood to check and make sure they are able to give without any bad repercussions to the donor. Richter said there are tips the Oklahoma Blood Institute recommends that can help donor’s nerves before they give.
“Some of the tips I have heard, is to bring a friend to keep you distracted, eat plenty before you give and be sure to drink lots of water to stay hydrated before and after giving,” Richter says. “Other things you can do is to stay calm and relaxed while the people working with Oklahoma Blood Institute take your blood. You can also ask for a supervisor to draw your blood if that makes you more comfortable.”
Giving blood isn’t for everyone though. There are restrictions on who can donate blood for the health of the donor and the recipient. This year, some of the requirements to give blood are going to change. In previous years, a donor only had to weigh 110 pounds to give blood as long as they were at least 18 years old. Now, donors will have to be 16 and weigh at least 125 pounds in order to be eligible to give blood. Anna Marie Baroni, a speech pathology sophomore, says she was disappointed to learn of the new restrictions on giving blood.
“I was really excited to participate in the Bedlam Blood Battle this year,” Baroni says. “I only weigh 115 pounds, so now with the new restrictions, I won’t be able to give blood this year unfortunately.”
Another reason some people cannot give blood is health issues. Lauren Watson, a management sophomore, says she can’t give blood because she is anemic.
“Anemia is a condition that makes your blood either not enough, not enough red blood cells or enough hemoglobin,” Watson says. “My doctor told me it isn’t really a big deal, but I have to take iron tablets and if I did give blood I would probably pass out. But, when you go to give blood they test that and tell you if you have high enough iron levels to donate blood.”
Alexandra Martin, an aerospace and mechanical engineering sophomore, had an entirely different experience when she gave blood at her church for the first time in high school. Martin has type O negative blood, which is in high demand at the Oklahoma Blood Institute. The reason it is so important to have O negative blood is because anyone can receive it. So if there is an infant who needs a blood transfusion, doctors can give the baby O negative blood until he or she can be tested for his or hers blood type.
“I love giving blood,” Martin says. “The whole needle part isn’t that great, but the feeling you get when you know your donation just saved someone’s life is worth every bit of pain. I am proud to be a donor and I really want to encourage anyone who is considering donating blood to do it because it is such a rewarding experience.”
For first time donors, donating blood can be a wonderful but terrifying feeling. Chelsea Scopelite is planning on giving blood for the first time this year during the Bedlam Blood Battle.
“I can’t wait to make my small difference by donating my blood for the first time,” Scopelite says. “I’m scared but I am more excited I am helping save someone’s life.”
Oklahoma State wants to encourage everyone to participate. Whether your reason is to save a life, or to beat OU once again, just remember to keep the competition classy and be the bigger school.