School-wide blood drive lends hand

Candice Perez

The collision between a Metro Link passenger train and a freight train in Chatsworth, near Los Angeles, last week, which killed 25 passengers and injured 130, is a reminder of the importance of blood donation. Saddleback students will have a chance to donate Sept. 23 and 24.

Saddleback’s Associated Student Government has partnered with the American Red Cross to host blood drives for many years. This year, officials from Southern California Red Cross announced a critical shortage of blood supplies. ASG co-chairs of the blood drive, Fawn Bekam and Sara Schack, wanted to maximize Saddleback’s blood contribution.

“We are hosting the drive for two days instead of one, hoping to double donations from previous years,” Schack said.

Anyone more than 16 years old, and weighing at least 110 pounds, may come to Student Service Center room 210 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. to make a life saving donation.

Each participant will receive a $10 gift certificate to Mimi’s Café. There will be raffles to receive free Golden Spoon, Chronic Tacos, Krispy Kreme, and much more. The donation process takes approximately an hour.

Donating one pint of blood can save at least three lives. This is because it is divided into three parts: red blood cells, platelets, and plasma.

According to the American Red Cross, RBC’s are usually used for by trauma and surgical patients, like those victims of the Los Angeles train accident. Platelets are often used by cancer and transplant patients, who need up to 100 units of blood. Plasma can be frozen and stored for up to one year, and is useful for people with clotting problems such as hemophilia.

Donated blood will go to hospitals and blood banks, whose supplies are usually depleted over the summer vacation season. It is essential that hospitals are stocked with blood in case of emergencies and for regular patients, since someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds.

Marcus Greco works with the American Red Cross and is an Emergency Medical Technician in Los Angeles, where the train accident, which was the deadliest California train crash in more than 30 years, occurred.

“When we have traumas where the person is totally crashing the first thing we do is notify the hospital to start an IV to give them type O [negative blood], which they have on standby,” Greco said.

Anyone can receive type O negative blood, so it is especially important that individuals with that type donate if they can.

According to the Red Cross, 60 percent of the nation’s population is eligible to donate, but usually only five percent do in a given year.

Eligible Saddleback students who will be on campus during the blood drive should stop by SSC 210 to make a donation and support the one out of every 10 people admitted to the hospital who need blood.

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