49ers 4 Life blood drive held in the Halton Arena. Photo by Chimena Ihebuzor.

On Jan. 23, the American Red Cross held the ninth annual 49ers 4 Life blood drive at UNC Charlotte. The blood drive took place from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Barnhardt Student Activity Center.

Maya Franklin, external communications manager for the American Red Cross Biomedical Services, was excited for another chance to partner with the UNC Charlotte community.

“We’re really excited to be working with UNC Charlotte again. There’s so many student organizations that get involved. This year, we’re aiming to collect more than 650 blood donations.”

According to the American Red Cross, this blood drive comes as the organization faces a winter blood shortage. Winter storms this month have forced many blood drives to cancel causing thousands of blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. Blood is urgently needed now so patients can continue to receive the life-saving treatments they need. Right now, blood products are being distributed to hospitals as fast as they are coming in.

“It’s important because one blood donation can save up to three lives,” said Franklin. “There are constantly patients who are in need of blood transfusions. The only way for them to get that potentially life-saving treatment is through blood donations. Obviously, there is no substitute for blood, you can’t get it anywhere else but from our volunteers who regularly and bravely offer themselves to help save a life, the life of a stranger.”

732 pints were given, potentially saving 2,196 lives.

Student donates blood. Photo by Chimena Ihebuzor.

Donors were compensated with a specially designed Red Cross T-shirt and food from local Jet’s Pizza and Appalachian Cookie Company.

Senior Briana Teaver is no stranger to the needle. After giving blood on multiple occasions, she has learned that some things never change.

“I always pass out when I give blood. I mean it’s pretty normal but that one was a lot more intense. But I do strongly suggest eating the [Appalachian Cookie Company] sugar cookie for comfort,” she said.

Freshman Cam Russ is new to both UNC Charlotte and giving blood.

“You know that was my first time giving blood and it actually wasn’t that bad,” he said. “I didn’t believe them when they said your blood turns blue once it hits the air, but I could actually see it as it passed through the tube.”

Senior Zach Zamin was very happy to give back, describing ‘49ers 4 Life’ in two words.

“Saving lives.”