By Makayla Cook
On average, an adult possesses approximately 10 pints of blood in their body, according to a blood fact sheet by the American Red Cross; that’s more than the 1 gallon of milk that people buy for their cereal.
The fact sheet also says that in the time that it took to read the first sentence of this article, there were about 5 people in the U.S. in need of blood. So, why not sacrifice 1 pint of blood in order to save someone else’s life?
The American Red Cross has declared a “National Blood Crisis”. In an explanation of its severity, it said this shortage is “its worst blood shortage in over a decade, posing a concerning risk to patient care. Doctors have been forced to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more products become available.”
Both Type O positive and negative, along with platelets, were on the top of the list, though all types are necessary to resolve this issue.
William Peace University (WPU) is hosting another one of its many blood drives, hosted by The Blood Connection. On Wednesday, Feb. 16, between 11am and 3:45pm, a blood donation truck will be located on Franklin St.
Joyner House, the on-campus wellness center, invites all students who are able and willing to sign up for a time slot in order to donate blood.
Jill Gattone, the university nurse in Joyner House, tries her best to stress the importance of donating blood to students.
“The blood shortage has not been this bad in over a decade. This is a concerning risk to patient care – healthcare providers have been forced to make difficult decisions about who receives blood and who will need to wait until more donations become available,” said Gattone “By donating you will help stop this shortage and save lives.”
The Blood Connection is a non-profit blood center that serves many areas across the U.S. Their mission is to “support our healthcare partners with adequate, safe, cost-effective blood supplies and services. When we share blood, healing happens; individuals thrive; and families remain whole.”
In regard to her reasoning for choosing The Blood Connection over other local blood banks, Gattone lets students know that they are not the only ones donating, saying she’s donated with the non-profit “several times.”
“They are very professional, clean, and safe,” Gattone said, “They have a great reputation.”
Donating is simple and easy. First, the donor will sign up for a time slot and fill out the necessary personal information. On the day of, the donor will go to The Blood Connection truck, located on the WPU campus, and speak with personnel working the event.
After all paperwork is complete and it’s the donor’s turn, they will be escorted to the truck and answer a series of questions by the individual collecting the blood.
Questions that may be asked include if any tattoos were done recently (and if they were done at a state-regulated facility), how a person is feeling, and if there are any diseases that they should know about.
After completing a brief physical, the person drawing the blood will draw a small sample of blood to ensure that iron levels are at an acceptable level. If everything up to this point goes well, it’s time to donate some blood!
A new, sterile needle will be used to draw the blood of the person donating. An antiseptic will be used to clean the area and the needle will be inserted into a vein on their arm. The person collecting the blood may have the donor squeeze a stress ball to ensure that the blood flows steadily. The whole process takes about 15 minutes and 1 donation can save as many as 3 people’s lives.
In The Blood Connection’s several visits to the WPU campus, students from all different majors and ages generously donated their blood. With the low supply of blood in the nation, students at WPU should consider donating a pint so that someone else can be alright.
To all who decide to donate, their favorite university nurse has a message for them: “Thank you for taking the time to donate. By your generosity and bravery in donating blood today, you are providing hope and strength to patients and their families,” said Gattone, “You may never know the difference you made in someone’s life by donating today.”