In the summer of 1989, former Chancellor Paul Hardin partnered with the American Red Cross to create the Carolina Blood Drive. It has grown into the largest and longest running collegiate blood drive in the region and has become one of the largest single-day blood drives in the nation. Since its inception, the drive has collected more than 32,287 pints of blood, enough to impact nearly 100,000 lives.
On June 5, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Smith Center, the University will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the blood drive in Hardin’s memory by seeking to collect a record 1,100 units of blood.
Countless people have been touched by the drive—as volunteers, donors and recipients. Four frequent donors share their stories of why they donate.
Ben Aycock, a systems specialist at the UNC School of Medicine’s Information Technology Services, has a perfect record of giving at the Carolina Blood Drive.
“It makes me feel good about making an anonymous contribution to someone else’s well-being,” Aycock said. “No publicity, no direct thank-yous—no strings attached. And this is the one time I can go out on the floor of the Smith Center without getting in trouble!”
Campus police officer Ray Rodriguez has given blood more than a dozen times throughout his career in the military and law enforcement. The reason for giving was reinforced to him when he received three pints of blood during a recent surgery. This year, he will bring FRANKLIN, UNC Police’s 2-year-old chocolate Labrador, certified as a Facility Dog with paws4people.
“If FRANKLIN and I can make someone smile during the Carolina Blood Drive, the visit will have been worth the effort multiplied by 100 times,” Rodriguez said.
Herb Davis worked 37 years as an admissions officer for Carolina before retiring in 2012. His work as a donor continues: He has donated blood in every single drive since its inception.
“The Carolina Blood Drive is so important to saving lives, which remains a passion for me,” Davis said. “It is easy, painless, the University supports it and I know of many people who needed my life-saving donation.”
Retired business officer Katrina Coble has worked with the Carolina Blood Drive for 20 years, first as a volunteer and donor, and for another 10 years as chair of the blood drive’s planning committee. With the birth of her grandson Greyson earlier this month, she was reminded of why that work is so important. Greyson was born May 2 with a congenital hernia requiring immediate surgery. Greyson, the son of Facilities Services construction manager Kyle Coble, will remain in the neonatal intensive care unit for several more months, but is improving daily. To donors everywhere, she is grateful. “Thank you for giving to so many, like Greyson, the gift of life.”