27th annual Homecoming Blood Drive set for next week

By Katie Pohlman


The Homecoming Steering Committee set a goal of 5,000 units for this year’s Homecoming blood drive.

The Mizzou Homecoming Steering Committee is partnering with the American Red Cross to host the 27th annual Homecoming Blood Drive this coming week.

The drive will be held at the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse, Oct. 15 to 18. Donors will be taken by appointment, or walk-ins are available from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. each day.

The Steering Committee has set a goal this year to collect 5,000 units of blood by the end of the drive. Last year the goal was met with the help of satellite drives, which allow a person to donate blood from another part of the country. Maggie Omastiak, the committee’s spokeswoman, said she hopes the committee’s goal is met again this year.

The number of units of blood that the drive has collected has grown over the years. The drive collected only 3,000 units in 2005, but that number rose to almost 5,000 in 2011.

According to the American Red Cross website, one pint — or one unit — of blood can help save up to three lives. If the drive collects its goal of 5,000 units, the amount of blood collected could potentially save 15,000 lives, a small but noticeable dent in the 5 million patients who need blood nationally.

The blood donated this year will go to patients in need in surrounding states such as Illinois and Arkansas, along with other parts of Missouri.

Fraternity and sorority houses are projected to be the biggest contributors to the drive since many of them give points to their members who donate, but Omastiak said everyone is encouraged to come out and give blood.

Last year, students, staff and alumni all contributed to the cause. There are already 5,728 appointments scheduled throughout the four-day drive, according to the Mizzou Homecoming Blood Drive website.

The residence halls are also holding a competition of their own to see which hall can bring out the most donors.

Omastiak said she is hopeful about the turnout for the drive but there is no telling how many people will walk through the door.

Appointments can be made online up until the night before the day of donation, but are not necessary. Homecoming adviser Carrie Bien said the drive will accept walk-ins as well. Every donor will receive a free “Mad Men”-themed T-shirt afterward for his or her participation.

However, Omastiak said she believes the real reward for the students is knowing they have helped a bigger cause.

“It’s not just a tradition and part of Homecoming, it’s helping people across states,” Omastiak said. “(The donors are) potentially saving lives.”

For students who do not want to donate, or cannot, Bien said they could volunteer by helping set up the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse on Sunday night or helping during the event. Sign-ups are available online.

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