Ruth Gowitzke News Editor
On Sept. 16 and 17, The American Red Cross came to Eastern’s campus to have the first blood drive of the academic year. Students from different years, freshmen to seniors, volunteered and donated with a single purpose: to help save lives.
Avan Sheridan, class of ‘23, said that he wanted to donate blood because he wasn’t able to in high school. “Especially with the recent natural disasters that have happened, it’s important to get people the help they need.”
Another student, Sam Torino, class of ‘20, said that she wanted to donate blood because it makes her feel like she is giving back to people. “When I was a baby, I had a lot of blood transfusions from the American Red Cross, and I am grateful for the people that did that. I want to give back to them.”
The American Red Cross is an important non-profit organization that not only impacts the students that donate, but the people they are donating to. Nancy Brennan, who is the Admin Assistant for the Campus Ministry stated, “We need to get the word out to more students.” On Monday, Sept. 16, there were 49 successful donations which accounts to serve 147 people. That is a lot of lives that could be saved, but according to Brennan, the numbers could be better. In fact, according to redcross.org, blood has a shelf life of 42 days and a person can donate every 56 days.
Alissa Haight Aguda who is the Account Manager and Recruitment and Outreach Facilitator, explains why the need for blood is imperative. “This time of year, the school year is just ramping up, and since it’s hurricane season, the need for blood is constant.”
Aguda also explained how important the amount of blood is to the way that the American Red Cross uses it. “Every one pint of blood saves three lives, because we deliver the blood in three parts: platelets, plasma and whole blood. Platelets are clotting agents that help cancer patients or people that have autoimmune disorders among other things. Plasma is the watery part of your blood that goes toward burn victims and whole blood is for people who may need surgery such as hip transplants, heart replacements surgeries and car accident victims.”
However, it is also important to note the eligibility requirements that are listed on the American Red Cross website, so students are aware if they are eligible to donate their blood. If you want to donate whole blood you must be in good health and feeling well, be at least 16 years old, in most states, and the wight limit is 110 pounds. The platelet donation is similar; the only difference is that donors must be at least 17 of age. To participate in the AB Elite Plasma donation, the requirements are also like the other two, except that you must have type AB blood. Another factor that students should take into consideration is the common reasons that most people can’t donate. For instance, one of them is to make sure you are feeling well enough to donate. If you any transmittable disease, such as a cold or the flu, it is not a good idea to try to donate, because you could get the persons you are donating to sick.
An additional factor is the kind of medication you may be taking. Most medications will be okay, but a volunteer taking a sample of your blood will let you know if you are still eligible to donate.
A third factor is if you have low iron. It may put the donor at risk if they try to donate under this condition.
A fourth factor is if the person donating has been outside the United States. A person may be exposed to malaria, dengue, or any other blood-transmitted illnesses.
In sum, blood drives like these are an excellent way to give people the help they need in just a few minutes. With more blood that is donated, there are more lives being saved.
If you or someone else did not get to attend this blood drive, there will be another opportunity to donate blood in December. Be sure to look out for the red signs posted aroun campus.