UNC rolls up sleeves for ill classmate

December 15, 2009 9:42:09 AM PST
Lillian Chason - the UNC student who's battling severe swine flu complications in the hospital - is receiving blood transfusions to help her recover. So, her classmates are rolling up their sleeves and getting in line to help.

"The life support machine Lillian's on uses a large amount of donor blood, and the Chasons have a goal of leaving the hospital with more blood than there was when they [arrived]," explained Zealan Hoover.

Hoover put the word out through social networking websites and e-mail groups saying 51 blood donor volunteers were needed.

"Emailed a couple of listserves on Friday, got those out Friday night once I knew for certain that the bloodmobile would be here. We had the parking, other logistics. Every single one of those spots was filled, about three hours later," he said.

"My e-mail's overflowing with people who are upset they can't donate. That's why we've been sending them to the Red Cross across the street doing their winter blood drive. So everybody's getting a chance to donate," he continued.

One of the volunteers was Anne Baer. She doesn't know Chason, but wanted to help out.

"I had H1N1 and everybody was like, 'What was it like?' And I was like, 'three days of being kind of sick,'" she said.

Chason's case is much more serious. She's one of the rare people who suffers severe H1N1 complications even though they don't have other medical problems and doctor's aren't sure why.

Chason has been in the hospital since November 20. She's on an ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) machine that oxygenates her blood and takes the pressure off her lungs.

Anyone who'd like to wish her well can send cards or a note to the hospital or go to her Facebook page.

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