Saddleback College works with American Red Cross to help areas in need of disaster relief

Student Corey Bland gives a thumbs up after a nurse bandaged him up from donating blood. (Ally Beckwitt/Lairat)

Student Corey Bland gives a thumbs up after a nurse bandaged him up from donating blood. (Ally Beckwitt/Lariat)

Coordinating with the American Red Cross, Saddleback College’s Associated Student Government and Phi Theta Kappa hosted the first blood drive of the semester which started on Tuesday and continued on until Thursday.

The blood drive was open to anyone that wanted to come by and donate blood whether that be students, staff or even someone who does not attend Saddleback. The process for donating blood is pretty simple. It is recommended to show up early to fill out all the paperwork for the blood donation and then one of the nurses does a screening of the donor to make sure they are able to give blood.  After they draw the blood ASG provided a refreshment table with complimentary drinks and snacks for people after donating.

The event was organized by ASG’s Director of Human Resources and Volunteering Karla Avila and Phi Theta Kappa’s Vice President Cole Peloquin. Avila and Peloquin have worked together in the past and have hosted a total of three blood drives together at Saddleback.

Along with help from ASG and Phi Theta Kappa, students at Saddleback were also given the opportunity to volunteer to work at the blood drive.

“We’re always open to having volunteers come out if they want to help out,” ASG President Erica Delamare said. “Either with the canteen, which is the table that gives out the food, the reception area, and we have the main desk where people are going to be doing their paperwork.”

One thing that Avila was amazed by, and most students don’t know about donating blood, is how much of a difference one donation can make. In a car accident someone could need up to 100 pints of blood but also that one pint of blood could save up to three lives. Every single donation matters and can help save so many lives.

“People don’t know how much blood is needed” Avila said. “If you can donate it really does save lives. I thought that was pretty interesting. Learning about the fact about how much donating blood can help really motivated me to make this event happen.”

American Red Cross Supervisor Laura Nguyen and student Corey Bland smile together after Bland's blood donation. (Ally Beckwitt/Lariat)

American Red Cross Supervisor Laura Nguyen and student Corey Bland smile together after Bland’s blood donation. (Ally Beckwitt/Lariat)

Saddleback student Corey Bland was one of many donating participants on the first day of the blood drive. Bland has participated in the last three blood drives that have been coordinated here at Saddleback.

“It’s the right thing to do to donate blood,” Corey Bland said. “I feel gratification afterwards because I saved a life. I’m not scared of donating blood because you have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

The American Red Cross has saved lives other than by blood donation.  Supervisor Laura Nguyen has her own personal connection to Red Cross.

“I didn’t join Red Cross, Red Cross found me, twice actually,” Nguyen said. “The first time they found me they saved my life. Red Cross found me when I was a little girl after the Vietnam War and saved me as well as my family by bringing us all back together after everyone was scattered across the states. They found me again further on in my life after being a pediatrics nurse for seven years and asked me to join the American Red Cross as a supervisor.”

After the end of the first day of the drive there were a total of 44 blood donations given. Similar numbers are hoped for after the following two days. There will also be another blood drive later on in the semester that will be hosted with Hoag St. Joseph Hospital instead of American Red Cross.

The American Red Cross blood drive donations will help go towards helping hospitals for disaster relief. The contributions from the next blood drive with St. Joseph Hospital will go straight back into the community.

Want to know more about donating blood through American Red Cross? Go to www.redcross.org to find other opportunities to potentially save lives.

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