Liviya Anderson came home from school with a high fever one afternoon in October 2010.
But after extensive testing, what the Anderson family thought was a simple case of strep throat was later revealed to be aplastic anemia, meaning Liviya’s body could not produce enough new blood cells to sustain her. Over the next few months, the 6-year-old endured blood transfusions every few days.
During her diagnosis and treatment at UNC Hospitals, Liviya was living on blood and platelet donations from the American Red Cross. Thanks to these donations, Liviya is now able to produce healthy blood cells on her own.
“The many blood products from the Red Cross saved her life,” said Liviya’s mother, Rebekah Anderson. “Without the blood and platelets early on, before she was even diagnosed, not to mention all the transfusions during her treatment, we would have lost her.”
On June 3, the UNC community will have the opportunity to donate lifesaving blood to those in need, like Liviya, at the Carolina Blood Drive. Campus and community members can donate blood between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Smith Center.
“There may be no better way to positively impact your community than to give blood, the gift of life. Every person on this campus has known or will likely know someone who will benefit from a transfusion at some point in their lives,” said UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham, who gave blood at last year’s drive. “We can make a huge difference by taking a few minutes to give blood. It’s a way we can all help to save a life.”
Now in its 26th year, the Carolina Blood Drive has collected 22,590 units of blood impacting up to 67,700 lives. Last year’s drive collected more than 800 units of blood. This year, the planning committee hopes to surpass this goal to help save lives and promote healing in hospitals across the Carolinas Region of the American Red Cross.
“The whole blood donation process only takes about an hour; the actual donation procedure itself usually takes less than 10 minutes,” said Kirsten Kruhm of the Carolinas Region of the American Red Cross. “We appreciate Carolina’s 26-year commitment to helping us fulfill this lifesaving mission by providing blood donations, especially during the summer months when donations are typically down.”
To donate blood, you must be healthy, at least 17 years old (16 with parental consent) and weigh at least 110 pounds. All presenting donors will receive a free T-shirt from the American Red Cross. Eligible double red cell donors also will receive an American Red Cross stainless steel coffee mug. For Carolina employees, time spent donating is considered work time, with permission from the person’s supervisor.
For more information, to make an appointment or volunteer for the drive, visit www.unc.edu/blood. To find out whether you are eligible to donate, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit blooddrive.web.unc.edu/donor.