Rolling up our sleeves at the Dean Dome

Jun. 07, 2014 @ 11:55 AM

It was a dream come true for almost any Carolina Tar Heel sports fan.
Spending an hour or two in the Dean Dome. On center court no less, looking up at five national basketball championship banners and the retired jerseys of more than 10 decades of players who built the proud tradition that made the building a national landmark.
Hobnobbing with athletic director Bubba Cunningham and talking to him about his plans for the future of the building. Will there be high-end box seats like those in the Blue Zone at Kenan Stadium? Or a new building altogether?
Having the chance to get the head football coach, Larry Fedora, to talk about prospects for the fall season.
Or chatting with UNC Law School Dean Jack Boger, getting his opinion about wills and estate planning, for free. Getting former Kenan-Flagler Business School Dean Steve Jones’ views on the challenges facing American businesses or the insights on world affairs from UNC Global Education Director of Development Daniel Lebold.
Then have a group of upbeat, optimistic Carolina football players give you a look at how very big and strong they are. Plus snacks. Krispy Kreme, Chik-Fil-A, Insomnia Cookies and Panera Bread and a T-shirt.
The Dean Dome was the place to be last Tuesday, and it was all free.
Free, unless you count the pint or two of blood each of the lucky visitors left behind.
You have guessed by now that these things were part of the big annual campus Red Cross blood drive. Twenty-six years ago, the new chancellor, Paul Hardin, inspired the first big blood drive. Over the years since, more than 23,000 units of blood have been collected, saving numerous lives. This year’s goal was to add 850 units to the total.
The visit to the Dean Dome and the contact with campus leaders and heroes are important. But it is something else that nudges most of the blood donors to donate blood.
I was moved by the story Brian Anderson told Ron Stutts on WCHL on last Monday morning. When Anderson’s 6-year-old daughter, Liviya, came down with aplastic anemia, a disease that destroys the victim’s blood cells, she needed regular blood transfusions to keep her alive while the doctors at UNC Hospitals worked on a cure.
Anderson had been a regular blood donor most of his life. Now, having the blood of others save his daughter has inspired him to persuade others to give.
He persuaded me this year.
Next year?
I will be there and I hope to see you at the Dean Dome with your shirtsleeve rolled up.

D.G. Martin’s regular weekly column appears on The Herald-Sun’s editorial page on Wednesdays and online at http://www.heraldsun.com/opinion/opinioncolumnists/martin.