Published: May 28, 2008 06:56 AM
Modified: May 28, 2008 06:56 AM
CHAPEL HILL -- Karl Schliebe needed 15 units of blood to survive a car crash two years ago this month.
Multiple surgeries and two months in intensive care gave way to rehabilitation that continues for the former UNC grounds worker, who hopes to return to work someday.
To blood donors everywhere, he says his message is simple: "You saved my life and made my family very happy."
Schliebe spoke Thursday at a campus kickoff for UNC's 20th annual Carolina Blood Drive, set for Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Dean E. Smith Center.
"Heels Helping Heal: Celebrating 20 Years of Giving" is this year's theme.
Head Football Coach Butch Davis also gave a pep talk at the kickoff, held for blood-drive volunteers and recruiters now fanning out across campus and community, urging people to give. Davis said he will ask all UNC football players and assistant coaches to donate.
"One reason I coach is that I like the idea of helping students and helping the community," he said. "Anybody involved with the blood drive is making that happen."
Now cancer-free, Davis did not need blood last year when he had non-Hodgkins lymphoma. But he saw other patients benefiting from transfusions, and "my wife had two brothers who had cancer, and they had to have blood," he said. "I'm very aware of the need to be involved with the Red Cross and the major need for blood donations."
To have a good blood-donation experience, health experts recommend getting a good night's sleep the night before, eating a good breakfast or lunch before donating, drinking lots of non-caffeinated beverages on drive day and eating iron-rich foods for a day or so beforehand. Those include red meat, fish, poultry, liver, beans, raisins and prunes. Avoid such fatty foods as hamburgers, French fries and ice cream beforehand.
After giving Tuesday, donors can visit the canteen stocked by 50 local vendors with sandwiches, sausage biscuits, fruit, chicken wings, gluten-free products, bagels, doughnuts, cookies, juice, soft drinks and more.
Door prizes for drive participants will include NASCAR and Carolina football tickets; donors may register for one of two $750 gas-card giveaways sponsored by the Carolinas Region of the American Red Cross. The Red Cross and the UNC Student Stores will donate 20th-anniversary T-shirts and pins for every donor and volunteer.
The drive is in June because donations usually drop in summer. But the need for blood doesn't let up.
Schliebe's sister Liz Schliebe, an intensive care unit nurse at UNC Hospitals, urged everyone who is able and eligible to give.
Speaking from her brother's experience, she said, "You never know when something can happen to one of your loved ones, and it's very empowering to be able to save someone's life."
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