Help save lives by donating blood

By Stephanie Kennett

Together we can save lives.

With just one prick of a needle you can save three lives. Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood and by donating, you can help people in need of lifesaving blood.

The Crocker Volunteer Center, located on the second floor of Hammond, holds a blood drive three times during a school year. “We have one blood drive in the fall and two of them in the spring “said Gabrielle Keegan, a Volunteer Center worker. “We do it with the American Red Cross” she added.

The next FSU blood drive is April 13 and 14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Unfortunately, not everybody can donate blood due to the strict eligibility requirements for potential blood donors set by the American Red Cross. In order to donate, you must be at least 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be healthy. If you have a fever or signs of an infection, take the medications heparin or Coumadin, or diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, you cannot donate blood. In addition, if you have recently visited a country where malaria is found, you must  wait 12 months before you can donate.

“I cannot donate because of my veins collapsing in the past” said Kristin Basford, a student at Fitchburg State University. Like Kristin, many cannot donate because they have small veins, they are anemic, or they’re afraid of needles. “I cannot do needles and it reminds me of bad things,” stated student Lindsey Camuso. Regardless, the blood drive always has a great turn out and actually has to turn people away. “We fill every single spot and walk-ins come in all the time” said Keegan.

On the first day of the blood drive there will be ninety appointments plus walk-ins available, and on the second day there will be sixty appointment plus walkins available. All together that is over 150 pints of blood donated, and potentially 450 lives that can be saved. That is a little over half of the 850 pints that our local area is short. It is a scary thought, but one injured person in a car accident may require up to 100 pints of blood in order to replace the blood that was lost.

There are many ways to get involved with the blood drive, and one way is to donate. Usually, the week leading up to the blood drive signups will take place, with volunteer center workers sitting at a table with a signup sheet. Appointments for the blood drive can be made at this time, but walk-ins are welcome on the day of the blood drive. According to Keegan, “Making an appointment is the best because you have a spot or you can call 978-665-3649. That’s the number of the volunteer center. You can call there and make your appointment.”

Another way to get involved with the blood drive is to volunteer your time. “Normally for the first two blood drives we rely on Greek Life and the RAs,” Keegan said, “and for the third one we have the athletes help out.” But that doesn’t mean that volunteers are not needed. Volunteers are still needed, and if you are interested, you can contact Gabrielle Keegan at gkeegan@student.fitchburgstate.edu. They are always looking for help.

The average adult has about 10 pints of blood circulating throughout their body, and it only takes about 10 minutes to donate a pint of blood, so why not donate to help others that need lifesaving blood? Have a fear of needles but would love to help save lives? Go to the American Red Cross website at http:// http://www.redcross.org/ where they have a whole page about how to overcome the fear of needles. If you have O negative blood, you are the most needed by The American Red Cross and the next time the blood drive rolls around, go donate because your blood can help save lives.

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