Red Cross Blood Drives: an accessible way to save lives
Published: Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 23:10
For any typical drive, the club tries to obtain between 80-150 pints of blood. This number is constantly varying. In past years, such as in the 2011 Blood Battle versus Syracuse, UConn made a contribution of 418 units of blood. With every donation saving up to three lives, Uconn students aided 1254 patients. But remember, that is only one blood drive; the UConn Red Cross Club tries to host a drive every month. Taking that into consideration, it is no wonder why UConn has become one of the largest accounts for blood donation in Connecticut.
“One donation of blood can save up to three lives. That fact alone is enlightening and should spur all UConn students to donate,” said 3rd semester molecular and cell biology and Spanish double major Annie Sung.
According to the Red Cross, someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds, adding up to a need of over 44,000 donations daily. In a year, our nation collects 16 million blood donations from 9.5 million citizens. Although over 9.5 million citizens donate, only 38 percent of our nation’s population meets the requirements for donating. Type O-negative blood and type AB-positive plasma is accepted by all blood types and so can be utilized in emergencies before the blood type is known. However, only 7 percent of people have O-negative blood and only 3 percent have AB-positive plasma type, making those donations especially effective.
“For me, it’s the numbers that inspire my donations” Sung said. “Blood is needed constantly and you can’t make it, you can only donate it.”
Donating blood is simple. There are four requirements: you must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good health and have no exposure to hepatitis or AIDS. Sometimes other medications or health conditions may cause problems as well; females frequently have low iron and are turned away.
The actual process of donating takes four steps. A staff member will take a quick medical history followed by a physical to check temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hematocrit levels. Then the actual blood donation takes place; most adults donate about one pint of the body’s approximate ten-pint total. Feeling a little bit lighter, the staff members provide refreshments to help aid in recovery. Within 24 hours the body will have replaced the fluids donated.
“Always look away when they put the needle in,” said Shannon Nardi, a 3rd semester ecology and evolutionary biology student. “That way you barely notice and get on to enjoying the free snacks at the end.”
Following a donation, it is suggested to take a little extra care of the body. Drinking an extra four glasses of liquids and avoiding heavy lifting or exercise is helpful. Also, the Red Cross suggests keeping the bandage on for five hours. Fifty-six days later, a donator can make another contribution, adding up to six donations throughout the year, saving a total of 18 lives.
On Oct. 2-3, the UConn Red Cross Club is hosting its second blood drive in the Student Union Ballroom. Sign-ups are online but walk-ins are welcome.
“The need is constant. The gratification is instant. Give blood,” decrees the American Red Cross.