MURFREESBORO — MTSU senior Danielle Boyd quickly volunteers to play the Disney ringtone that tells her what’s on her schedule for the day, who’s calling her and what needs to be done in class, at work, with family and friends and at her volunteer projects.
When you’ve nearly died twice, she jokes, hearing “Hakuna Matata” throughout the day is a reminder that “no worries” is a good problem-free philosophy.
“Some things are taken too seriously, and life is one of them,” she says.
Boyd, who will be helping donors at MTSU’s “True Blue Blood Drive” this Monday-Wednesday, Oct. 21-23, has been the recipient of that life-saving substance and wants to do her part to save lives until she can donate blood again.
True Blue supporters across the Midstate can make an appointment now at http://www.redcrossblood.org/mtsu to donate at MTSU’s Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center. Appointments are still available from noon to 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, and Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Boyd, a Murfreesboro native, was a 17-year-old freshman at the University of Tennessee-Martin when she first needed someone else’s blood.
“I got really weak, and all of a sudden I couldn’t stop bleeding,” she recalls now, her bright smile never dimming. “My friends and roommates rushed me to the emergency room, and I got a blood transfusion. The next spring it happened again.”
Boyd, now 22, knew there was a problem but didn’t get an official diagnosis until this spring: Factor V Leiden thrombophilia and prothrombin gene mutation. With those disorders, your blood won’t clot properly if you have surgery or get hurt, but it also can form deadly clots in your legs or lungs.
“I take blood thinners now, but that’s OK,” she says. “I haven’t had any more transfusions, but I also can’t donate blood to save someone else’s life. So I get my friends and family to donate on my behalf until I can donate again.”
Boyd, who is majoring in university studies, volunteers as a counselor at the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee’s Camp Sycamore as well as with MTSU’s Raider Entertainment, the student group in MTSU’s Student Programming and Activities Office. Blue Raider game days for her regularly start before 6:45 a.m. as she helps set up inflatables, the zip line and more pregame activities in the Walnut Grove tailgating area.
She’s also attended Alabama’s Dauphin Island Sea Lab on the Gulf Coast every summer since middle school, soaking up marine biology, ecology and teaching knowledge that she hopes to use in her teaching career. Boyd is minoring in athletic coaching and officiating and wants to earn a master’s degree in education from MTSU after she graduates next May.
She’s already earned an associate’s degree in education from Motlow State Community College, and her schedule also includes two off-campus jobs.
Boyd also is finalizing details for her summer 2014 internship in Key Largo, Fla., with Island Dolphin Care, a program that provides dolphin-assisted therapy to children with special needs, wounded veterans, children at risk and their families from all over the world.
“You never know when somebody might need blood,” she says. “You can save someone’s life. It could be the person next to you in class.”
She encourages her fellow students, her professors, MTSU staff and alumni and all the university’s neighbors and supporters to stop by during the three-day blood drive to make a difference in someone’s life, just as someone did in hers.
“It may sound funny, but you can save a life by just sitting with a needle in your arm for 30 minutes. Bring a book. It’s not much trouble at all.”
As the third generation in her family to work or attend MTSU, she knows there are plenty of good people on- and off-campus ready to help. Her grandparents are retired accounting professor Dr. Nancy Boyd and the late business professor Dr. Daniel Boyd, and her mother, Gayle Dawson, earned her biology undergrad and master’s in education degrees at MTSU.
“I guess MTSU’s just in the blood,” Boyd says, then pauses. “Ha! ‘In the blood.’ I like that. It really is.”
(Get more details on the True Blue Blood Drive, including comments from MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, Athletics Director Chris Massaro and Student Government Association President James Lee, at http://mtsunews.com/bleed-blue-2013.)