By Megan Freeman
“We always come in February. Minimum, twice a year.” says Natalie Rodriguez, the team supervisor for the American Red Cross Association. “There’s always a lot of students. We’ve had 70 donors between the two days.”
The American Red Cross Association has been here at Fitchburg State University for the past two days and student volunteers have been signing up to give their blood to the association. The association always gets a lot of volunteers whenever they come around on campus. Despite the snowy and cold weather, students have made the decision to volunteer their time and blood.
“This is my 7th year donating. Every time I get a chance to do it, I do.” Says sophomore nursing student, Jill Pronovost. “It helps people. Saves a life. As a nursing student, I think that’s important.”
Another sophomore nursing student, Jessi Lawrence, expressed similar motivations for being at the blood drive.“It’s an opportunity to help out people who need help. And the only way to help people who need blood is to give donations.” Lawrence said, “This is my second year donating. I wasn’t nervous at all about donating my blood. It took about five minutes.”
“They ask about tattoos, piercings, and what you’ve eaten. Medical history, if you’re sick, the same questions over and over.” says Pronovost. “I was more nervous about whether or not they’d be able to draw my blood. It took a long time for them to even be able to find my vein! And then the time it took for them to draw my blood was about 13 minutes, which is long. But that’s because I have low blood pressure.”
“It usually takes about seven minutes. Mine took five.” Lawrence added. “The amount of time it takes depends on the person. Everyone is different.”
“After the blood is drawn, it’s taken to a lab. The blood gets separated by its type and then tested to make sure it’s useable. The blood is processed, and then given to those who need it,” Rodriquez explained. “People need the blood. There’s no synthetic blood that exists. The only way you can get more blood is through donors.”
This is not Rodriguez’s first year coming to Fitchburg State University. She and the American Red Cross Association have been coming here for years, and each year they get a good turnout of student volunteers. In front of Rodriguez, the main lounge was full of posters and volunteers giving their blood to help others.
“The part that takes long is the wait to get your blood drawn,” says Lawrence. During the long waiting time is when donors are asked questions about their health and medical history, and given a number. When their numbers are called then the technicians are ready to begin the blood draw.Blood drives are good causes and Fitchburg State’s volunteers have definitely done their part in making it even more successful.