UD students step up in annual Blood Challenge

Josh Lucas of Philadelphia had a special reason for stopping in to make a blood donation at the University of Delaware.  

“It’s a great cause, and I have a family member who has cancer, so anyting you can do to help you do you part,” said the junior at UD, who now makes several donations a year.

Sophomore Andrea Birch of Wilmington felt a little bit light-headed afterwards, but said she wanted to prove to herself that she could donate. 

“It’s just a spirit of giving, maybe.  It’s the Thanksgiving season,” Birch said.

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Josh, Andrea and hundreds of other UD students rolled up their sleeves at the Trabant University Center Wednesday as part of the 9th annual CAA Blood Challenge.  Delaware won the first four years of the competition, but Drexel has taken the crown the last four years.

The Blood Bank of Delmarva says they’re all winners, as are the hospitals and patients who need blood.  The Blood Challenge is its biggest blood drive of the year, resulting in 22,101 units donated over the past eight years.

Blood Bank spokesman David Bonk said it’s an important time of year to increase the blood supply.  Donations often slow down over the holidays, while cold and flu season and severe winter weather can also result in diminished supplies.

“The blood has to be collected, processed and tested in advance and has to be stocked in quantities of every type, at every hospital,” Bonk said.  “We’ve got to be ready.”

University of Delaware President Patrick Harker also rolled up his sleeves.  He said he is a long-time donor, and is hopeful UD can dethrone Drexel this year.

“It’s all part of the great community spirit that the faculty, the students and staff have,” Harker said.

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