A lifesaving gift

CSS staff member Tiffany Snider makes a donation during a campus blood drive on June 25.

CSS staff member Tiffany Snider makes a donation during a campus blood drive on June 25.

Saints don't mind rolling up their sleeves for a good cause.

Students, faculty and staff donated a total of 216 units of lifesaving blood in 2013, making the College one of Memorial Blood Center's top donors.

St. Scholastica won a Top Ten award during MBC's recent Northland Sponsor luncheon. Out of more than 300 sponsors - local businesses and organizations that host blood drives through MBC - the College was in sixth place.

Michele Keil, donor recruiter for MBC and a 2000 St. Scholastica graduate, said the contribution is impressive.

"That's a lot of units collected in one year," she said.

Celeste Zuniga, director of the McNair Scholars Program at St. Scholastica, serves as an advisory board member for MBC. When she became involved, she was surprised to learn of the College's impact.

"This is a very big deal on the outside, but it's not seen as such a big deal within the College community because we're a culture of giving," Zuniga said. "We don't think to do that, to take a step outside and realize that this is a big deal."

MBC is the local community blood supplier for Essentia Health and St. Luke's Health Care System. It has come to depend on the generosity of students at St. Scholastica and elsewhere. Across the general population nationally, only about 5 percent of people donate blood. But students donate about 25-30 percent of the blood supply.

"We rely very heavily on our high schools and colleges September through May," Keil said.

According to MBC, one in three people will need a blood transfusion at some point.

Donations typically drop off during the summer months and around the holidays, when people are busy traveling and enjoying time off.

MBC is always in need of blood donations of all types, but the most common types - O positive and O negative - are the most critical. O negative is a universal blood type that anyone can receive.