The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday September 28th

UNC Blood Drive Attracts Masses

But American Red Cross volunteers are still encouraging people to donate. The drive acquired 65 units of blood by 2 p.m., exceeding the Orange County Red Cross' original goal of 40 units. The Red Cross is collecting blood to help meet needs in New York and Washington, D.C., the sites of two of Tuesday's three terrorist attacks.

About 500 people came to the collection site Wednesday, but most were told to come back in a few days or weeks. "It's been heartening, really heartening, but we've been turning people away since I got here at 10:45 a.m.," said Amy Jewett, a Red Cross volunteer.

The drive was organized by the Student National Medical Association before the start of the school year with the expectation of a moderate turnout.

But after Tuesday's tragedies, concerned UNC students and Orange County residents came out in droves to donate. Casey Copp, director of blood services for Orange County, said other local drives have had similar success.

"My understanding is that 600 people turned up (Tuesday) at a drive in Durham, and (the volunteers) worked until 11 p.m. at night," she said.

At Berryhill, students, faculty and residents waited in line to give blood, keeping track of the latest news while their blood was being collected.

Laura Desch, a junior English major, said she waited for more than an hour. "I was watching yesterday, and, as soon as it went across the screen that the Red Cross needed blood, I wanted to do this," she said.

Other donors said they felt a personal connection to the tragedy in New York.

"I know there's a huge need, and I'm actually from New York," said Mike Steiner, a 2000 UNC graduate.

Copp said the local Red Cross also has sent units to hospitals in Baltimore, which is less than an hour from Washington, to help aid victims.

But Copp said although Wednesday's blood drives were full, demand for blood will increase in the future.

But Jewett said whole blood, which is more commonly donated, is not the only product in demand. "I've been reminding everyone to try to give platelets," Jewett said. "Platelet donation is a two-hour process. However, you can give platelets every two weeks as opposed to two months with whole blood."

Platelet donations help patients whose own platelets are weakened or destroyed. Donations can be made at UNC Hospitals by appointment only.

Donors who were turned away from the Berryhill drive will have other chances this week. Another blood drive is scheduled from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. today in the Great Hall of the Student Union.

Those interested in whole blood or platelet donation can reach the American Red Cross at 1-800-822-7231 or can visit their Web site at www.informatics.org/redcross.

The City Editor can be reached at citydesk@unc.edu.

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