The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday June 3rd

UNC sororities compete to save lives in Sorority Platelet Donation Drive

Emma Caponigro donates platelets for the competition. Photo courtesy of Emma Caponigro.
Buy Photos Emma Caponigro donates platelets for the competition. Photo courtesy of Emma Caponigro.

Members of UNC’s sororities have been competing over the last two months, but this time the competition isn’t for new members – it’s to help save lives. 

In September, the UNC Panhellenic Council and the UNC Blood Donation Center partnered to create the Sorority Platelet Donation Competition. At the end of the two month drive, the three sororities with the most donations will receive a monetary prize towards their philanthropy. 

Junior Emma Caponigro, a member of Alpha Chi Omega, along with senior Gaby Jeifa of Sigma Sigma Sigma, first got the idea for the drive after learning about a similar competition with the University’s club sports teams. Caponigro, a health policy and management major, was also serving as the service chair of UNC’s pre-health society at the time and decided to reach out to the Blood Donation Center.

“I was passionate about making this competition happen because I recognize how important collecting enough platelets is for the UNC Blood Donation Center,” Caponigro said. “The donated platelets go to patients in UNC Hospitals who are often cancer or trauma victims, and they’re crucially important in their treatment.”

Enter Trilby Norton, the center’s donor recruiter. Norton sat down with Caponigro, Jeifa and the Panhellenic Council to determine the best way to help. After figuring out all the logistics, the result was a two month campaign to maximize platelet donations.

“We love it because they are helping the patients of UNC while ultimately helping their philanthropies,” Norton said. “I would not be able to get the total until the last week of November, but because 63 donations were made so far, you can assume that 63 patients were helped.”

With the competition ending this Friday, the race for first place is neck-and-neck between Phi Mu and Alpha Chi Omega. 

At weekly chapter meetings, senior Karolyne Hill, the president of Phi Mu, stressed to members of her sorority the importance of donating — to help both the patients and the group’s philanthropy, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

“We think it’s a really simple way to give back,” Hill said. “Plus, it hits close to home with the goal of our philanthropy. We’ve had lots of members who’ve donated religiously over the years, so it really wasn’t hard encouraging people to donate.”

Regardless of whether or not her sorority comes out victorious at the end of the campaign, Caponigro knows that every donor who participated helped make a difference in patients’ lives. 

“My goal for the competition was to increase the amount of platelet donors for the UNC Blood Donation Center and ensure they collect enough platelets to reach their needs, while also getting more sorority members involved in platelet donations,” Caponigro said.

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