Blood: A Precious Resource

“There is a shortage of blood in this region,” Tyler Steele said at the Blood Drive on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. Blood drives are becoming increasingly important as the supply goes down and the demand goes up. “This semester we were really pushing for donations,” said Lennon Gross. They pushed, and they succeeded.

The Blood Drive was hosted by the brothers of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity(SAE) and the sisters of Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority (ASA). The drive was staffed by the American Red Cross. “We do it every semester,” Steele said. “This semester, Lennon reached out and wanted to partner with us. ASA is really stepping up.” Blood drives are often done on campus, and the groups that organize them strive to attract many people to donate. This group aimed to surpass a goal they set to turn the shortage of blood into a surplus of blood. If the region has a surplus of blood, then that blood can be used to help people in regions with a shortage. If more people would donate when they can, there would be no shortage.

Tyler Steele and Lennon Gross at the blood drive
Tyler Steele and Lennon Gross at the blood drive.

Blood donation is something that can help anyone at any time. For Maggie McBride, donating blood means a lot. “Recently, because my mom passed, I directly saw the effect of organ and blood donation. It’s important to me to give what I can.” There are many people who are directly affected by blood donation. “My dad was in a bad accident,” says Lennon Gross. “A blood donation was what saved him. There are people in your life that you might have lost without the efforts of the Red Cross.” Blood drives and blood donation are ways to give back to people and to help those in need. When you donate blood, you get an email telling you when your blood gets used. Aeriel Oncita loves when this happens, saying “Oh wow. I saved three lives? That’s neat.” One donation of blood can help three people. Blood really is a precious resource and if eligible, it’s important to donate whenever possible.

Maggie McBride after she donated blood
Maggie McBride stops for a photo after donating blood.

While some people may view donating blood in a fearful way, the process on our campus with the American Cross is one that is smooth in every way. “Everyone was very nice, and it went well and fairly quickly,” Oncita said. The volunteers ran the sign-in desk and made sure that everyone was ready to go when they were called. The staff was very respectful and professional. “Seems like everyone is really positive today,” Tom Bevan said after donating blood.

There were people that made appointments, but many people were walk-ins. The volunteers and staff moved as efficiently as they could, but they still had to resort to turning people away due to being understaffed. There will be more blood drives in the future and there’s only one way to fix the understaffing issue. “We will be having one in the spring semester with dates to be determined,” Steele said. “If we get more appointments, we can get more staff and be able to take more walk-ins.” The amount of staff that the American Cross sends is dependent on the number of appointments. The brothers of SAE are determined to continue to have the number of donations grow each semester. “We averaged 28 donations last year and previous years,” Steele said. “Last semester, we received 38 donations. Now our goal is to surpass each previous goal going forward.”

Overall, the blood drive was a success. There were 32 appointments made prior to the drive. This number is just shy of the number of donations from the previous semester. This blood drive received 42 donations in total between appointments and walk-ins. This means that approximately 126 people will be helped with the blood donated. There were still 15 people who had to be turned away at the door due to understaffing. This can be remedied. When there is another blood drive on campus, make an appointment. Decide to donate blood. This will allow for there to be more staff and for no one to have to be turned away at the door. Blood drives save lives and so do the people who donate.

“We’ve had a really good time today knowing that we’re doing a good thing,” Gross said while admiring the blood drive. We can all do a good thing. If you’re able to, next time there is a blood drive, donate.

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