By Lauren Buckley
Turnout was less than ideal at Wednesday’s Red Cross Blood Drive in Larison Dining Hall due to a lack of student awareness. The post cards that are normally put into student mailboxes were not distributed because there was a problem getting them approved, according to Stephany Musgrave, the American Red Cross Northeastern Pennsylvania Account Manager.
“Our turnout yesterday was very disappointing,” Musgrave said. “We only had 78 donors present, with 11 donors being deferred and 1 QNS. We ended up with 72 good pints of blood. 60 whole blood and 6 for 12 pints of double red cells. Those 72 pints will be broken down into its three components and will be used to help 216 patients.”
In addition to only getting 78 donors, there were only nine first time donors yesterday, as compared to the usual 30 or so.
According to Nancy Libbey, Volunteer Coordinator for the Red Cross Chapter of Snyder, Union, and Northumberland Counties, the University has a long history of involvement with blood drives on campus, going back several decades. Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity, has consistently been the campus sponsor.
“[Alpha Phi Omega] has always provided dedicated support in promoting the drives on campus, recruiting donors and helping the day of the drive by greeting/signing in donors and providing refreshments,” Libbey said.
There is currently a critical nationwide need for Type B negative and Type O negative blood. The Red Cross especially urges people with these blood types to donate. Type O negative is the universal donor type because it can be transfused to any patient in an emergency situation until there is time to type that person’s blood. Musgrave said that she was not able to get a report stating how many donors were of critical blood type.
“Shortages often occur during winter months because of cold, illness and uncertain weather conditions and in the summer because schools are on break (students account for over 30 percent of blood donated), heat and vacations. They also occur during times of disasters when the affected areas cannot collect enough blood to meet the needs of the patients. In these cases, the Red Cross uses its national inventory management system to transfer blood in unaffected areas to those that need it,” said Shannon Ludwig, the Communications Manager for the Northeastern Pennsylvania American Red Cross.
To entice more people to recognize the benefits of donating blood, the American Red Cross has offered a campaign throughout the month of April called the “Nook-a-Day Giveaway.” The contest selects one donor each day of the month to win a free Barnes & Noble Nook electronic-book reader. Donors who participated in Wednesday’s blood drive on campus were eligible to be one of these winners.
The Red Cross hopes all eligible students and faculty continue donating over the summer months as well as in the blood drives in the 2012-2013 academic year. The event coordinators are hoping to hold two-day drives for each donation period next year, held in September, November, January and April.
“It is important for young people to donate because they are helping us to ensure an adequate blood supply for the community. The more frequently individuals donate early on in life, the more likely they are to become lifetime donors. The need for blood is something that will never go away. Blood cannot be manufactured: it can only come from volunteer donors,” Ludwig said.
One quick donation can save the lives of up to three people. Donors must be 16 years of age or older, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. For more information about becoming a donor, visit www.redcross.org.