The school year has begun, and so has the first blood drive of the year. The American Red Cross was stationed in the Student Center Monday and Tuesday from noon until 5:45 p.m. for students to donate blood.
Brandon Fletcher, the drive’s supervisor, has been with the Red Cross for two and a half years, and worked at a plasma donation center before that.
“The blood from this drive stays in southeastern Michigan and donors will even receive a letter telling them which hospital their blood went to,” he said.
He organizes blood drives all over southeastern Michigan, at schools, plants and corporations. Keeping the competition going between the University of Michigan and Ohio State University is even an annual “Blood Battle.”
Going 30-years strong, from Nov. 1 through Nov. 20, the rivals will compete to see which school can bring in the most blood donations. Last year, Ohio State won with 2,364 donations, putting an end to Michigan’s four-year streak.
The American Red Cross supplies more than 40 percent of the blood and blood products used in the US. There are plenty of reasons that blood donations are needed, so no donated blood will go unused.
Though there are a few restrictions on students for giving blood, even if they do not weigh enough or if are ill at the time, there are plenty of other ways to help out.
Raven Beasley, a psychology major at EMU, was nervous waiting to donate on Monday afternoon.
“I don’t really care for needles,” she said. “But I wanted to donate in high school and couldn’t, so I am now.”
A fear of needles is a common deterrent for many potential donors. The Red Cross workers are used to dealing with people with this fear and helping them through it. But there are other ways to help out if people aren’t up to facing their fear just yet. The Red Cross is always accepting volunteers to work at drives and they also accept monetary donations.
“I received an email about the blood drive,” Mohammed Alghfais, an economics major, said. “I figured it’d be a good experience.”
The Red Cross usually holds drives at EMU about six times a year. The Red Cross website has a number of things to keep in mind before donating blood. Donors are to bring two forms of identification with them. More importantly, getting a good night’s sleep the night before, eating a healthy meal and staying hydrated throughout the day are necessary.
Officials said if there is too much fat in a person’s blood at the time of donation, they might not be able to test it for disease and their donation won’t be able to be used for a transfusion. Also, make sure you have some spare time after donating to relax and consume the refreshments that are supplied.
Information about EMU’s next blood drive will be announced via email or posted on the bulletin boards around campus.
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