In the News

2021 Holiday Carolina Blood Drive update:

The journey of a pint of lifesaving blood begins with you. Blood products collected at the Holiday Carolina Blood Drive was delivered to patients in need of vital care. This distribution included, but was not limited to:

Red Cross truck drawing with the hashtag RedCrossOnTheWay written below

  • Duke University Medical Center
  • University of North Carolina Hospitals
  • North Carolina Baptist Hospital at Wake Forest University
  • Duke Regional Hospital
  • New Hanover Regional Medical Center

Each local drive is an integral piece of a puzzle to secure a healthy, readily available blood supply in our community and for every person in need. When collections exceed need for patients in local communities, the Red Cross expands distribution to areas with low supply due to weather, seasonal illness and other challenges. Ensuring that not a single drop of blood is wasted is how the Red Cross honors the selfless effort of every generous donor.

The Carolina Blood Drive planning committee is grateful for its partnership with the Red Cross and we feel the pride of extraordinary service to our community and beyond.

Thank YOU!

We extend our heartfelt gratitude for the hundreds of blood donors, volunteers and American Red Cross staff who supported the 32nd annual Carolina Blood Drive. Because of YOU, we exceeded our goal, collecting 808 lifesaving blood donations, potentially impacting 2,424 lives.

We are especially grateful this year as our community continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, many blood drives continue to be canceled as businesses and community organizations remain closed. In fact, more than 30,000 Red Cross blood drives scheduled nationwide from March through September have been canceled resulting in more than 817,000 fewer blood donations amid the coronavirus outbreak. Due to this shortfall, the Carolina Blood Drive donations are even more critical.

We are proud of our longstanding partnership with the Red Cross and their work to help patients in need. Over the Carolina Blood drive’s 32-year history, we have collected 35,268 units of blood, potentially helping save 105,804 lives. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for bleeding Carolina blue!

Visit the Photo Gallery from the Blood Drive!

Holiday Carolina Blood Drive has special meaning for UNC employee

Dec. 10, 2019 – Each December for the past 21 years, the Carolina community has come together focused on a common goal: provide help and hope to others in need of blood. Ever since the first successful blood transfusion in 1665, blood donations have saved more lives than ever imagined. Every year, nearly 4.5 million Americans will need a blood transfusion. Giving blood through the Red Cross helps ensure that patients have access to lifesaving blood when they need it most. For Kewana Smith, coordinator for UNC’s Office of Rural Initiatives, the impact of blood donations is personal.

Smith’s younger sister was born with sickle cell anemia and other health complications that left her needing monthly apheresis treatments that were not possible without donor blood. Because her blood was not carrying oxygen properly throughout her body, due to sickle-shaped red blood cells that inhibit proper blood flow, the apheresis treatments removed her blood, separating the red cells, white cells, platelets and plasma. Her red cells were then replaced with healthy red cells provided by a donor and circulate back to her with the other blood components.

It was this constant need for blood that motivated Smith to begin giving blood in 2009. She has not stopped. Even after losing her sister in 2012, Smith continues to donate in her memory. “I knew there were people who gave so that my sister could get her monthly, lifesaving treatments and I wanted to give back to other families what someone had given to our family,” Smith said.

This year, the Holiday Carolina Blood Drive, which Smith faithfully supports, falls on Tuesday, Dec. 10. That’s a special day for Smith; it’s her sister’s birthday.

“For me, donating blood is giving another big sister more time with their little sister, just as someone did for me,” Smith said.

In honor of her sister’s birthday, Smith encourages others to support the 21st annual Holiday Carolina Blood Drive, set for 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Fetzer Hall.

Between the Carolina Blood Drive in June and the Holiday Carolina Blood Drive in December, more than 33,367 pints of blood have been collected, potentially impacting more than 100,100 lives.

“Every day, I am grateful for those who gave blood for my sister,” Smith said. “And I am thankful for those who will consider giving blood at the Holiday Carolina Blood Drive on Dec. 10.”

The 21st annual Holiday Carolina Blood Drive is 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 10 in Fetzer Hall. You can schedule your appointment by visiting or use the Blood Donor App and enter sponsor code UNC. Appointments are nearly full, so walk-ins may not be seen. Free parking will be available in Cobb Deck off Country Club Road. Donors can save up to 15 minutes at the donation site by using RapidPass. Visit to learn more.

Carolina Blood Drive reaches 100,000 lives impacted by blood donations

Jan. 8, 2019 – One hundred thousand is a big number. And thanks to the Carolina community, the Carolina Blood drive has reached a major milestone; helping to save more than 100,000 lives through blood donations since the Carolina Blood Drive began in 1989. Combined, the Carolina Blood Drive and Holiday Carolina Blood Drive have collected 33,367 pints of blood. Since every blood donation has the potential to help save three lives, Carolina Blood Drives helped reach 100,101 lives.

Naqun Hill is one in 100,000. And just one reason Tar Heels roll up their sleeve to give blood.
For 25 years, Hill, a business officer in pediatric dentistry, donated blood. But it’s being on the receiving end of blood donations that make him thankful for the generosity of so many Tar Heels who give blood.

“When I could donate blood, I gave blood at any blood drive that I could,” Hill said. “I always wanted to do my part.” But since coming down with the neurological disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome in 2007 he has be unable to donate blood. That’s what makes these 33,367 pints of blood so important. Hill is one of the 100,000 lives saved by blood donations.

“Every month, I have intravenous immunoglobulin treatments, which basically means that my plasma is cleaned and I receive fresh plasma from donated blood,” Hill said. “I would not be alive today if it were not for those treatments.”

Blood donations are essential for patients who battle chronic illness like Hill. They’re also needed for surgeries, cancer treatment and traumatic injuries. For more than 30 years, Carolina Blood Drives have made a far-reaching impact on the campus community and beyond, thanks to the selfless donors who give their time, roll up their sleeves and make a difference.