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NIC rolls up its sleeves

| February 3, 2023 1:00 AM

As a blood shortage continues across the country, the North Idaho College community looked to do its part to help with a blood drive Mondayin a mobile donation center at NIC’s main campus in Coeur d’Alene.

The blood drive was hosted by the NIC Student Nurse Association in partnership with the nonprofit blood service provider Vitalant. On Jan. 9, Vitalant declared a blood emergency and announced that more than 900 hospitals nationwide had their blood supply dip to its lowest level in a year.

According to Vitalant representative Audrey Lewis, donors from the NIC blood drive gave enough blood to potentially impact 51 recipients through 11 whole blood donations and three “power red” donations. Lewis also said the drive wouldn’t have been successful without help from NIC’s nursing students.

Vitalant Donor Care supervisor Stephanie Cazares said blood drives like this one are important because blood platelet donations only have a shelf life of five days and cannot be frozen.

“It’s just a good thing that needs to be done,” Cazares said. “There’s no synthetic blood or anything people can get. There’s no ‘Tru Blood’ or anything like that. It’s just needed.”

When blood drives are held, Vitalant works ahead of time with hospitals to schedule surgeries and make sure recipients don’t experience delays because of low supplies.

Since 1969, January has been recognized as National Blood Donor Month in an effort to bolster blood supplies after the fall and early winter months. During that time, donation centers typically see fewer donations due to factors like the holidays, seasonal illnesses and severe weather.

“There’s a shortage everywhere and I see it all the time,” Cazares said.” “It could just be the fact that we’re not getting as many people donating as we would like. It could be the holidays or it could be that only about 7% of the population donates when about 32% are eligible to donate.”

Benjamin Zenor, an NIC art student who participated in the drive, said he tries to donate blood when he can.

“I’ve donated a few times but it’s been a while,” Zenor said. “When I saw the bus, I thought to myself ‘It’s time.’”

For information about the NIC Student Nursing Association, contact faculty adviser Sharon Funkhouser at 208-769-3487 or Sharon.Funkhouser@nic.edu.