Typical Blood Usage (Information from Bonfils Blood Center)
Auto Accident – up to 50 units
Bleeding ulcer – up to 30 units
Organ Transplant – up to 100 units
Cancer – up to 8 units/week
In the time it takes to finish reading this sentence, someone in the United States will have received a needed transfusion of donated blood, and with the help of the Premedica Club and Bonfils Blood Center, there's a chance it's a CSU student's.
Although need remains the same, blood donations decrease 20 percent in winter according to the donation Web site. To counteract this, January was National Blood Donor Month, and CSU is participating by hosting blood drives, held in the Lory Student Center throughout the month.
"The large college community is somewhat of an untapped resource," said David Henderson, a customer care representative from Bonfils. "The younger you start donating, the more likely you are to do it when you're older."
Premedica has collaborated with Bonfils for more than 16 years, and now puts on quarterly drives. The next one will be in April.
"Instead of focusing just on the campus, (blood drives) help the entire community," said Ellie Brooks, a senior microbiology major and president of Premedica. "Most college students are able to do it."
The drive's goal is to receive 100 units per day. Henderson said at least 100 students show up to donate each day, and each donation can save up to three lives.
"I do it just to feel good, to be a Good Samaritan. If it helps someone, that's all that matters," said Dan Strawn, a senior mechanical engineering major.
Henderson said the hour-long process to give blood begins with reading the prescreening questions to decide if one is eligible or not, and then filling out a question form, which will be reviewed by technicians in a short interview. From there the hopeful donor's temperature is taken, their iron level is tested and if approved, are then sent to a bed where the actual blood is drawn.
Bonfils recommends eating a healthy, low fat meal and drinking fluids within four hours of donation.
For those with needle phobias, Henderson claims the longest a needle will be in a donor's arm is 15 minutes, and on average only five to seven. However, some students are still fearful.
"It's my first time. It's a good thing to do, but I'm a little nervous. I hope it doesn't take too long," said Sarah Bisbee, a sophomore psychology major, moments before her interview.
Donors don't need to worry about contracting HIV and/or AIDS. Because Bonfils uses needles only once, diseases cannot be contracted by donating.
One can healthily give blood every 56 days because the body replaces the lost fluids within eight hours and the red blood cells within six weeks, according to Bonfils brochure.
Not everyone is eligible to give. According to the brochure, the first questions asked include whether or not one is in good, general health, weighs at least 110 pounds, is 18 or 17 years old with parental/guardian consent, and have not had a tattoo or piercing or traveled to a malarial area in the last 12 months.
Josh Bevivino, a sophomore physics major, began giving blood as a family tradition started by his father. However, he was unable to donate this year because of traveling.
"I traveled outside the U.S. in the past year. I was a soldier in Iraq, but I'm indifferent because in six months I'll be able to donate again," he said. "I do it to help others in need."
Margaret Canty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org