Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood and that number is continuing to increase every day. However, each year, Wesleyan has the opportunity to help contribute to the emergency need for blood.
On Jan. 18, the Red Cross brought all of their equipment and set up a blood drive right in Chapman Library. Having a blood drive at Wesleyan really encourages faculty, staff, students and parents to donate blood at a location that is convenient for them.
The blood drive could not be made possible without the help of parent volunteers who help coordinate it. This year Ashley Bobo and Gia Elsevier worked alongside the Red Cross to make this event happen. “Mrs. Bobo and I served as co-chairs of the blood drive. We are responsible for working with the American Red Cross representative to set the date and coordinate the drive. We also worked with the Wesleyan staff to coordinate setting up McKeever and providing food for everyone who donated and the Red Cross staff,” said Gia Elsevier.
Every person’s donation counts to help those in need of blood. One pint of blood collected from each donor can save up to three lives, which makes every pint so valuable. However, the American Red Cross states that only 38% of the population is eligible to give blood, because of risk factors from things such as travel bans, age, sickness or even piercings and tattoos.
“Because there are so many people who can’t give blood for whatever reason, it makes the people who CAN give blood so important,” said senior Laura Von Bargen. Anyone who is able to give blood is highly encouraged to do so, especially because the red cross is in emergency need for it.
Blood from the blood drives goes to many different types of people: cancer patients, trauma patients, sickle cell patient, burn victims and patients with chronic illness (American Red Cross). “This year, giving blood was very personal for me, because my daughter, Whitney (’17) needed a transfusion last fall,” said Bible Department Chair Glenn Archer. For many blood donors, giving blood hit very close to home.
For some people, they give blood, because they recognize that they might be the one needing blood one day. “One day I could be in a situation where I need blood, and if that situation ever comes up I will be forever grateful to the person who gave me blood,” said senior Ryan Gomes.
The blood drive is an “incredible opportunity for Wesleyan to give back to the community,” said junior Kylie McIntosh. The process of donating blood is super quick and painless (for the most part). “Giving blood is one of the easiest ways to help others. Many lives can be saved with just one donation,” said Spanish teacher Guillermo Vallejo.
A common misconception about donating blood is that it is scary and painful, but “giving blood is not scary at all,” said Von Bargen. The Red Cross team really does everything in their power to make this process go smoothly and quickly. “To make donating easier, make sure you start hydrating a few days in advance, so you are fully hydrated when you donate. Also, eat iron rich foods the week before to prevent having your iron be too low. Lastly, after you donate, make sure you drink plenty of fluids and eat enough food to bring your blood sugar level back to a healthy level and avoid exercise for at least 24 hours after donating,” said Elsevier.
Overall, the blood drive is a great opportunity to serve the community, and it is also sure to have you feeling lighter. “I think it is really special that Wesleyan hosts a blood drive every year. And I think anyone who can do it, should,” said Vallejo.