Do­nate blood

The goal is for an ex­tra 1,000 units by the end of next week

Albuquerque Journal - - FRONT PAGE - BY RICK NATHANSON JOUR­NAL STAFF WRITER

Drives are be­ing held around the city to aid vic­tims

New Mex­ico may be a poor state, but peo­ple here are gen­er­ous and they are step­ping up in record num­bers to do­nate blood for the vic­tims of Hur­ri­cane Har­vey in Texas.

That’s es­pe­cially im­por­tant be­cause the flood­ing that has dev­as­tated the Houston area has halted mo­bile blood drives and shut down blood do­na­tion centers there, said Aussy Levi, se­nior man­ager of donor re­cruit­ment at the United Blood Ser­vices Albuquerque cen­ter.

The cen­ter on Tues­day had peo­ple backed up in the sit­ting area wait­ing for those in the do­na­tion chairs to cy­cle through.

A mo­bile blood drive at Yale and Lo­mas NE also drew a steady stream of peo­ple Tues­day. The blood drive was or­ga­nized by the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico ROTC pro­gram.

“We want the peo­ple in Houston to know the Amer­i­can peo­ple are be­hind them,” said Master Sgt. Eugene Broadus III while giv­ing blood inside the do­na­tion bus.

Nearly 20 cadets in the ROTC pro­gram at the univer­sity do­nated blood. “They talked about the dis­as­ter in Houston, and the im­por­tance of an­swer­ing the call. Even though they can’t go to Texas, they can con­trib­ute here and make a dif­fer­ence, and they feel good about help­ing.”

Sit­ting on an ad­ja­cent do­na­tion chair was Kim Kloep­pel, UNM’s stu­dent af­fairs chief op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer. “I do­nate blood reg­u­larly, but when I got a call say­ing they were need­ing ex­tra blood be­cause of the hur­ri­cane I knew I had to come out and do­nate today.”

This do­na­tion, she said, seems a little more ur­gent in view of the mas­sive scale of dev­as­ta­tion in Texas.

Devon Fisher-Chavez, 21, a premed stu­dent at UNM, said he spends per­haps too much time study­ing, and knew little about the hur­ri­cane and flood­ing in Houston. “I kind of

live un­der a rock, but I was out walk­ing around today to pay some bills and saw it (mo­bile do­na­tion bus) and just wanted to do some­thing good for oth­ers. It is im­por­tant to give blood.”

Mo­bile blood drives and blood centers through­out New Mex­ico take in col­lec­tively about 300 units, or pints, of blood daily, which is the min­i­mum re­quired to ser­vice hos­pi­tals, said Levi.

On Mon­day, the blood cen­ter in Albuquerque by it­self saw a 17 per­cent in­crease in do­na­tions, and on Tues­day a 35 per­cent in­crease, she said. Statewide, the other blood centers in Rio Ran­cho, Santa Fe and Farm­ing­ton re­ported an av­er­age in­crease of about 13 per­cent.

“What’s hap­pen­ing here with the in­creased do­na­tions is great, but I hate that it hap­pens be­cause of a dis­as­ter,” and that un­der­scores why blood is con­tin­u­ously in need, she said.

As an ex­am­ple, she noted, a sin­gle car ac­ci­dent in­volv­ing a fam­ily of three, all of whom re­quire blood dur­ing emer­gency surg­eries, could use 100 units of blood or more. And of course, there are other tragedies, such as the Clovis li­brary shoot­ing on Mon­day that killed two and sent four oth­ers to area hos­pi­tals. The con­di­tion of those in­jured has not been re­leased, but the tragedy would be mul­ti­plied if they re­quired blood and it wasn’t avail­able.

United Blood Ser­vices goal for New Mex­ico is to col­lect an ex­tra 1,000 units by the end of next week, most of which will go to Texas.

“I think peo­ple want to do some­thing, and if they can’t send food or if they can’t send money, they can do­nate blood be­cause it’s easy, quick and they feel it makes a dif­fer­ence,” Levi said.

Af­ter the blood is tested and pro­cessed, “the donors get a text say­ing their blood is on its way to save a life.”

GREG SORBER/JOUR­NAL

Kim Kloep­pel, left, re­laxes with a news­pa­per while giv­ing blood, as mo­bile op­er­a­tions su­per­vi­sor Robert Sanchez, cen­ter, pre­pares Devon Fisher-Chavez for a blood do­na­tion.

Master Sgt. Eugene Broadus III

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