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Every two seconds, someone is in need of blood.

UCF works with OneBlood to meet those needs, making the university one of the most prolific blood-donor organizations for the blood drive.

As the largest university-student population currently working with OneBlood, UCF has collected more than 11,000 units of blood and impacted more than 33,000 patients since 2010.

There will be five blood drives taking place for the remainder of the month, all at 10:30 a.m. in front of the Student Union: Thursday, Sept. 11; Tuesday, Sept. 16; Monday, Sept. 22; Tuesday, Sept. 23; and Wednesday, Sept. 24.

Each blood drive at UCF collects an average of 40 units of blood from students, faculty and staff, according to a Blood Drives brochure, only scratching the surface of what patients typically need. Tee Rogers, UCF Blood Drives chairwoman, said a victim of a car accident, for example, could need 50 to 100 units of blood to survive.

"If those units are not there, that person does not get another hug, another sunrise or another chance," Rogers said. "What you're doing when you donate blood is giving those people hope and another chance at life."

Francheska Aristy, a junior graphic design major, said she donates blood because she knows it will help save lives, especially those with rare blood types.

Although the small incentives that go along with donating blood, such as T-shirts and movie tickets, are nice perks, Aristy said she encourages others to donate a small amount of blood for the huge impact doing so can leave behind.

"I think I am doing my little part in [contributing to] the larger impact that the blood buses are making," Aristy said.

Pat Michaels, a OneBlood spokesman, said OneBlood has been conducting blood drives with UCF since the 1960s. He said blood drives are so vital to the community because blood cannot be manufactured; it must come from donors.

And any blood that is donated today will usually be transfused into a patient within two to three days.

"It is important that people donate because a safe and available blood supply must be on hand at all times," Michaels said. "The blood drives at UCF have been very well-organized over the years and are a regular fixture every few weeks on campus."

Rogers, along with donor recruitment manager for UCF Philip Trees, works to make sure campus Blood Drives run smoothly.

The Big Red Bus, which is synonymous with OneBlood, is usually located in front of the Student Union, but also makes its way to other locations, such as the Recreation and Wellness Center, Burnett Honors College and Memory Mall.

"You are literally giving someone else a second chance to live," Michaels said. "All it takes is a little of your time, and you are giving someone else more time to live."

What to expect if you donate

According to a Blood Drives brochure, donating blood is a three-step process.

Students have to first prepare themselves for the donation by eating a light meal, drinking plenty of water, wearing a short-sleeved shirt and bringing a photo ID and list of any medications being taken.

At the time of donation, students will visit the mobile blood drive to first answer questions and fill out paperwork. Blood pressure, temperature and iron levels will be checked, and once everything is cleared, students can donate and share their power to save lives.

"[The donation] is about a 40-minute process, but you have the potential to save three lives," Rogers said.

Once the donation is complete, the final step in the donating process is tracking your results by creating an interactive account at www.oneblood.org.

When blood donations are collected on the Big Red Bus, a sample of each donor's blood is sent off for testing at the state-of-the-art testing facility in St. Petersburg that same day. Each unit of blood is tested for more than a dozen different diseases.

If the unit passes screening, it is then readied for shipment to area hospitals, where they are transfused into patients within only a few days.

Get involved

If students have an interest in leadership, event management or getting involved with the blood drives in general, they can check out the blood drive Facebook page, the website at events.ucf.edu/blooddrives, or contact Tee Rogers at blooddrives@ucf.edu.

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