Nurses and volunteers from American Red Cross transformed the seminar room in the St. Joseph’s Center into a nurse’s office with pizza and drinks provided for donors for the blood drive that went from 12-6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1.
Even with the decent number of donors coming through the door on Friday, the main concern for the president and vice president of Franciscan University of Steubenville’s American Red Cross Club is getting enough donors for the next blood drive at the end of the month.
Senior Jessie McCarthy, vice president of the club, said that the club holds three blood drives a semester; this semester, two of the blood drives will be held in the same month since it does not always have control over the scheduling.
“We do need donors because donors can only give once (about) every eight weeks,” said McCarthy.
“It’s going to be hard to fill this blood drive and then the blood drive at the end of the month,” said junior Julia Despres, president of the club. “None of these people are going to be able to donate again, so we’re going to need a whole slew of people.”
Blood donors must be age 17 or older, weigh 110 pounds or more and be in general good health. Students who meet these requirements may donate blood, though many are often confused about whether or not they may donate if they have been recently out of the country.
“A lot of people ask, especially once they come back from Austria, if they can donate, and the answer is yes,” said McCarthy.
“It’s places where there’s malaria present, that’s really what (the American Red Cross) is worried about,” said Despres, explaining why there is confusion about donating blood after foreign travels.
The actual process of donating blood can take about 45 minutes, between filling out paperwork and drawing the blood, but drawing the blood itself takes a short 20 minutes. For this process, donors need to prepare their bodies beforehand by eating a good, hearty meal with plenty of iron and drinking enough water.
While most donors typically sign up ahead of time, the blood drive also accepts walk-ins for students who might have forgotten to sign up or for students who decide last minute to donate. If a student is hesitant about donating, he or she can at least come in, go through the screening process and then decide whether or not he or she still wants to donate, said Despres.
A first-time donor explained the easy effort in donating blood that makes a big difference. Junior Katherine Douglas said, “It’s an easy way to sit there and let them do all the work. You literally are barely doing anything and you’re saving lives.”
The next blood drive will be held on Monday, Feb. 25, and sign-ups will be in the J.C. Williams Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 21 and 22. To find out more about donating blood and other requirements, go to www.redcross.org.