Empty blood sample tubes wait to be filled with blood, sent out and tested for a variety of diseases including HIV, Zika Virus and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Photo By Shelana Ysen.

By Ellen Lescarbeau

BEMIDJI—The Northwest Technical College hosted a Memorial Blood Center drive on Wednesday afternoon with over 40 people donating.

All of the blood that Memorial Blood Center collects from donors goes to hospitals in the area helping and saving the lives of people undergoing surgeries or recovering from accidents.

“If there’s nobody to give blood, unfortunately there won’t be any when people need it,” said Gary Champion, Memorial Blood Center staff member.

Donating blood takes 30-45 minutes. The mini-physical prior to the draw takes longer than the draw itself, which only takes seven to ten minutes. After donating blood, the center provides juice, snacks, pop and t-shirts to donors.

“If you donate blood it could go to a family member or a friend, you just don’t know,” said Gary Champion, Memorial Blood Center staff member. “We just can’t tell you who your blood goes to.”

Kim Boysen, registered nurse of Sanford Health Center, donates blood to the Memorial Blood Center. This is estimated to be Kim’s 27th donation of her lifetime. Photo By Shelana Ysen.

According to the Memorial Blood Center’s website, donating blood matters because every patient is different. Each disease calls for a unique treatment regimen. The blood component needed to save or sustain the life of a patient with a specific condition also differs from treatment to treatment.

While patients undergoing treatment for leukemia require platelets to promote clotting, severe burn victims need plasma and red blood cells. Distinctions in treatment can often mean the difference between life and death for premature babies.

“I see first-hand every day how important it is to have ample blood supply,” said Kim Boysen, blood donor and registered nurse at Sanford Medical Center. “Several hundred patients per week are in need of blood.”

Before anyone can donate, the Center has a wide range of tests mandated by the government that check the blood samples for diseases ranging from HIV to some STD’s to Zika virus.

Memorial Blood Center holds blood drives almost every day of the week. Anyone can go online to find blood drives that are going on in the area and sign up for an appointment or simply walk-in and donate.

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