Jasmine Thibou, Taliscia Johnson and Carmen Shepherd give blood during Bloodanooga at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga student center. Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press
Riana Lawrence knew it was time to give blood again after her friend suffered injuries in a January motorcycle accident.
“He needed 50 pints of blood during his treatment,” said Lawrence, a freshman at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. “That definitely motivated me.”
Lawrence was of one of more than 400 students who lined up to give blood at Blood Assurance’s third annual Bloodanooga, held Thursday at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga University Center.
“Events like this are really a big boost and have the potential to get us out of our deficit,” said Bonnie Phillips, marketing and special events coordinator for Blood Assurance.
Blood supplies have been at critically low levels this winter, according to Blood Assurance officials. The snow and the flu kept people away from blood drives, Phillips said, and the heavy number of shootings during March also put a strain on supplies.
There have been 16 shooting incidents with injuries or deaths reported in the Chattanooga area this month, according to newspaper archives.
“Each trauma victim can require 50 to 150 units of blood,” she said.
Blood Assurance needs 400 units donated every day to keep up with the demand from the 50 hospitals it contracts with across four states and 32 counties, she said.
“Essentially, one person’s blood donation could help three people,” Phillips explained. “We use the red blood cells, the platelets and the plasma.”
Bloodanooga’s goal was to get 500 people to give blood and to sign 200 people up on the Be The Match national bone marrow donor registry.
Raven Robinson, a UTC freshman, said she heard about the critically low levels of blood on the radio and decided she should try to contribute.
“As a nonworking college student, there’s not many ways I can give back [monetarily],” said Robinson. “I figure it’s the little things like this that help the cause.”