by Catie Carreras–
While some people associate giving back to their community with volunteering or helping neighbors, donating blood is an important part of civic duty that is often overlooked.
Although the topic of donating blood can make some people feel uncomfortable due to fear of needles, pain or germs, the process is easier than the negative associations make it out to be. The Blood Drive sponsored by Virginia Tech’s Dairy Club on April 28 served as a reminder as to how important it is to donate blood if you can, since patients in need rely solely on volunteers to help them.
“I think a lot of people pass on donating because they think their donation won’t make a difference, but in reality you could be saving more than one life with only one donation’s worth of blood,” senior dairy science major Jenna Hardy said.
The American Red Cross explains every detail of the process on their website, including how to get started by scheduling a blood donation appointment if you meet the requirements to be a donor. Contrary to popular belief, the actual donation only takes up to 10 minutes.
“In my opinion, giving blood is the perfect example of Ut Prosim,” sophomore dairy science major Michael Granché said. “It takes so little time, and knowing that you will actually be helping to save lives makes the decision to donate clear to me.”
However, most people are not aware of the amount of blood that is in demand at hospitals. “A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood,” the Red Cross stated. Since donors can only give a pint at a time, it is vital that blood drives are promoted and incorrect suspicions about the procedure are discredited.
“I asked my friends to come out and donate at our blood drive, and most had never done it before,” Hardy said. “They said ‘I never thought about it,’ so I think it’s important that we get the message out.”
Type O negative blood is the only type with red cells that can be donated to people with all blood types, and it is needed in emergencies before the patient’s blood type is known. However, only nine percent of people in the U.S. are O negative, the Red Cross explained. With such a demand, these donors are even more crucial, as are the three percent of people in the U.S. with AB positive blood, the only type that is a universal donor of plasma.
“I’m glad the Dairy Club could get the word out here in Blacksburg, we had a line out the door of walk-in donors,” Granché said. “It’s amazing to see so many Hokies helping patients in need.”