UNC Charlotte student wins iPad2 for donating blood

A UNC Charlotte student and American Red Cross blood donor is now the lucky owner of an Apple iPad 2.

Wesley Parrish, a senior at UNCC, was entered into the drawing for the iPad 2 after donating blood at the “49ers For Life” drive on January 12, 2012. Parrish has participated in the university’s drive for the past few years.

“I gave blood for the first time two years ago and have given several times a year since then,” he said. “I give blood because it makes me feel good to know that I am helping someone.”

When Parrish isn’t saving lives by giving blood, he is juggling a major in sociology and minors in gerontology and public health. He’s also a huge supporter of Charlotte athletics and is an active member and treasurer of the school’s swim club.

“We are so grateful for all the students and faculty at UNCC who made the blood drive a success,” said Joyce Brendel, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region. “We just really want to show our donors how much we appreciate them and their commitment to helping save lives.”

Even though the holiday season is over, the need for blood is constant. Like the Emergency Room of a hospital, the American Red Cross must be prepared to respond to patient emergencies with blood products 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Through the everyday support and generosity of blood and platelet donors, the Red Cross can be prepared to do this day-in and day-out, no matter when or where these blood products are needed.

There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source. Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be safely given every two weeks, up to 24 times a year. Most healthy people age 17 and older, 16 with parental consent, who weigh at least 110 pounds, are eligible to donate blood and platelets. Donors who are 18 and younger must also meet specific height and weight requirements. For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate, please call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit http://redcrossblood.org. Call 1-877-975-2835 to make an appointment to donate platelets.

Bleeding 49er green!

Shamari, like thousands of people, must receive regular blood transfusions to survive.

Being stuck with a needle probably isn’t the way you want to start off 2012.  But for some people, like UNC Charlotte sophomore Shamari Inuwa, being stuck with needles isn’t a choice—it’s a way of life.  Shamari, like thousands of people, must receive regular blood transfusions to survive.  The only way for them to get lifesaving blood is from people who voluntarily give their blood.

Shamari lives with sickle cell anemia, an inherited blood disorder in which the red blood cells can take on an abnormal rigid sickle or crescent shape.  When sickling occurs several complications can happen including decreased delivery of oxygen to the body’s organs.  This disorder has caused Shamari pain and sickness most of her life, requiring blood transfusion support as part of her treatment plan.  As of nine years of age, Shamari has received more than 60 blood transfusions.

“People like me who receive blood—those who are in car accidents, have sickle cell or cancer—we are alive because of the blood,” said Shamari Inuwa.  “Needles aren’t that bad, really.  You’re basically getting pinched for a few seconds compared to someone being in pain or sick all the time.  Just think about that.” 

You can help save someone’s life, like Shamari’s, by donating blood at the thirdannual “49ers for Life” blood drive Jan. 12, from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM at the Student Activities Center.  Come out to donate and you’ll get a FREE pint of ice cream and a special “I Bleed 49er Green” t-shirt. 

Go to redcrossblood.org and enter Sponsor Code 14077 to make your lifesaving appointment!