ARUP raises 155 pints of blood for local hospitals

By By Jessica Blake

By Jessica Blake

When Ken Rasmussen discovered 30 years ago that he had the rare blood type O-, he decided he would start donating blood.

“It’s something I can do, so I give,” Rasmussen said. “It doesn’t take too much time.”

At a time when blood is in high demand but less is available, the small amount of time Rasmussen takes out of his day to donate blood helps more than he knows. The demand for blood has increased by 384 percent this summer, and ARUP Blood Services is pleading for donors.

Rasmussen, a teacher at Taylorsville High School, joined hundreds of donors July 9 when ARUP, the sole blood provider to the U Hospital, hosted a blood drive at the 23rd Floor Event Center of the Wells Fargo Center downtown.

ARUP received blood donations from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and raised 155 units, or pints, of blood.

Lance Bandley, community relations representative for ARUP, said the company usually provides 25 units per week to the U Hospital, Huntsman Cancer Hospital, Primary Children’s Medical Center and Shriners Hospital for Children.

Since Memorial Weekend passed, the company has needed to supply 100 units per week to meet demand this summer.

“I give out all of these numbers, but behind them is a person and families,” Bandley said. “We need to educate the public about the need (for donations).”

During the donation process, television screens showed how a father of eight children handled the diagnosis of his daughter with leukemia. The donors could see the father’s blogs about his daughter, Serenity, and her story.

“The need for blood really draws people in,” Bandley said.

Rasmussen and two other donors said that sometimes just one surgery needs 150 pints of blood.

He said it’s a shame that only about 10 percent of people give 80 to 90 percent of the blood in hospitals.

Some donors at the drive donate regularly through church, school or other blood drives such as ARUP.

“It’s nice to know you can help,” said a donor who wished to remain anonymous. “I hate needles, but that’s one time I’ll do it.”

ARUP hosts two main blood drives annually in July and December, both of which are located in the Wells Fargo Center, Bandley said.

Janae White, a donor collection specialist in training, said that she has given and taken blood from people before but prefers taking it.

“I enjoy this angle,” she said. “I’m taking part in helping, just in a different way.”

White said she has participated in ARUP blood drives in Logan, Cedar City and St. George but thinks that Salt Lake City is better suited for the drive.

“This facility accommodates more people,” she said.

Donors who attended were entered to win one of 10 gas cards for $50, a weekend at Homestead Resort and a two-year lease on a Mitsubishi Lancer.

Libby Mortimer, a long-time donor and representative of FM 100, a radio station that helped promote the drive, said that the prizes probably helped bring more people in to donate.

“I would love it if people would do it on their own, but sometimes they need incentives,” Mortimer said.

She donates every eight weeks, which is the most a person can donate.

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Anna Kartashova

Tyler Anderson, an ARUP donor collection specialist, collects a pint of blood from Matt Clein, a 2007 U graduate with master’s in accounting, at the Wells Fargo Center on July 9.