Blood drive numbers lower than average

Student Health Advisory Council (SHAC) held its first blood drive of the semester on Sept. 18 in rooms A and B of  Hazelrigg Student Union (HSU) in conjunction with the American Red Cross. A total of 29 units of blood were collected during the drive, lower than the average. Blood will be used locally, with some being distributed to victims of hurricane Florence.

This year, SHAC tried an online sign-up sheet for the first time. Thirty-three people volunteered to donate blood using the online sign-up and the rest were walk-ins. According to Joe Daake, SHAC member, the goal for using an online method was to make it easier for people to volunteer.

“Numbers aren’t as high as we want. We were kind of trying some new stuff to recruit people for the blood drive … It’s definitely kind of a trial stage. We’re really trying to figure out — same thing with our student group — we’re trying to figure out how to get more people involved,” Daake said.

Despite the low numbers, the blood drive did attract new donors. Sophomores Karlie Norton and Hannah Gehle sported the green “I MAKE A DIFFERENCE” sticker given to those who have donate for the first time. Both felt that the drive was not advertised well and heard about the event through word-of-mouth.

“I honestly didn’t know this was going on today. I heard about it when I was at work because my boss donated. She was like ‘Hey, are you donating today?’ I was like ‘I didn’t know that that was happening.’  So I feel like it wasn’t advertised as well,” Norton said.

While SHAC is always seeking volunteers to give blood, there are some eligibility restrictions. Reasons for not being able to donate blood can include high/low iron levels, travel history or the recent addition of a tattoo. However, most disqualifications are temporary, according to the American Red Cross.

“I’m worried if they will let me do it, like if they find out that I’m low in iron or something like that and then I won’t be able to give. Then it will be really sad. But I’m not too worried about the needle or anything like that,” Gehle said.

According to the American Red Cross, a donation is needed every two seconds, but only about 38 percent of people are eligible to donate. This large demand, combined with a short supply, makes blood donations a valuable resource.

“I’ve also always wanted to give blood. I mean, it’s really important for my family and it kind of saved one of my family member’s lives, so I kind of just cherish it, to give blood as often as I can. I just haven’t been able to yet,” Gehle said.

SHAC tries to hold three blood drives every year. The next blood drive will be on Jan. 16, hosted by the football team. Another blood drive will be in held next year in March.