Students give more than just time at blood drive

GIVE A LITTLE; SAVE A LIFE (Shannon Patrick)

Tim White

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. However, only five percent of eligible Americans donate blood in one year.  Healthy donors are the only supply of blood. And, there is no substitute.

The American Red Cross says that blood is needed for emergencies and for people who have cancer, blood disorders, sickle cell, anemia and other illnesses. Some people need regular blood transfusions to live.

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, Saddleback’s Associated Student Government sponsored a Red Cross Blood Drive. A total of 122 donations were received: 61 donations on the 23rd and on the 24th, 51 had been taken as of 2 p.m. (Final statistics were unavailable at the time of printing.)

“We still have quite a few people waiting to donate,” said Teal Johnson, Saddleback College Associated Student Government’s  public relations officer. “We find that a lot of people are walking in at the last minute.”

Krispy Kreme, Paradise Café and Chronic Tacos donated free food and gift certificates for those who gave blood. A refreshment area was set up for people to relax after their donation.

“[Donating blood] is an inexpensive, non-time consuming way to contribute something back to society,” said Leah Nick, 26, nursing. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that there is no discomfort involved with donating blood.”

Also present at this year’s blood drive was the Red Cross’ ALYX component collection system. ALYX is a state-of-the-art machine that draws two units of red blood cells from the donor, instead of the single unit usually collected from a whole blood donation. ALYX accomplishes this by separating the blood drawn at the time of the donation and returning the plasma to the donor, while keeping the valuable red blood cells.

“It’s definitely worth a shot for anyone who hasn’t tried it,” said Brian Wilson, 22, architecture.

According to the Red Cross Web site, every unit of blood has the potential of helping three people who need blood. By 2 p.m. on Wednesday, therefore, Saddleback had the potential of saving up to 336 lives. With the last six hours of the drive uncounted, it is feasible that this year’s drive will match last year’s 188 donations.

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