By Zach Taylor, University Relations Student Writer

For the sixth consecutive year, UTC hosted Bloodanooga, Chattanooga’s largest blood drive. Organized by Blood Assurance, the area’s only blood bank, which serves and provides for nearly 50 medical facilities across Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, and North Carolina, this semester’s Bloodanooga was held in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

bloodanooga-2013-04Rather than spread out blood drives across multiple events and organizations on campus, Bloodanooga is now held once in fall and spring semesters to help maximize visibility and participation.

“We usually collect around 600 units of blood during every Bloodanooga event, and every donation can save 3-4 lives. The University plays a huge role in this process. From promotion, hosting, and providing volunteers, this really is a UTC-motivated event,” said Craig Glass, Business Development Account Manager for Blood Assurance.

Morgan Hatmaker, a junior Secondary Education English major, jumped at the chance to donate blood.

“I have donated every year I have been at UTC. It really just feels good to know that you may be saving someone’s life,” said Hatmaker.

Tyler Milton, a sophomore Pre-Professional Biology major, has seen firsthand how a simple blood donation can help someone.

“My mom is a nurse, so I know that there are usually shortages in blood supply, and every donation can be a big help,” said Milton.

Besides just taking blood donations, the event also signed up participants for the National Marrow Donor Program registry.

bloodanooga-2013-03Unlike blood, there must be a DNA match between donor and recipient for marrow donations. Over 12,000 people a year are diagnosed with various blood cancers, such as leukemia or lymphoma, and around 6,000 of those die due to a lack of a matching donor.

Minorities face the most significant difficulties in finding donors, with only 7% of the registry composed of African Americans.

According to Rhonda Moore, Marrow Representative for Blood Assurance, the lack of marrow donors comes from myths surrounding the process.

“Donating marrow is not dangerous or painful. The liquid marrow found in the pelvic bone is extracted, and at the most, there may be some slight stiffness and soreness following the quick procedure. At the end of the day, if a little bit of discomfort can save a life, we should all do it,” said Moore.

For more information about Blood Assurance, as well as other blood drives in the area, visit http://www.bloodassurance.org/www

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