It’s Thursday, September 26, and grey skies loom with a hint of rain, the temperature is a cool 66 F at Saddleback College. The campus quad is bleak as students get their first taste of fall showers.
In front of the Student Services Center is a large white van with a huge red plus emblem, with the words “Please give blood.” The American Red Cross is on campus imploring students and faculty to give blood.
Entering the SSC building, blood drive signs are taped throughout, leading students and volunteers up the stairway. As you pass the cafeteria, you reach the student lounge. There, the staff of the American Red Cross greets you and the fun begins.
The process of giving blood takes forty minutes from start to finish. You will be turned away if you are taking antibiotics or have taken aspirin within seventy-two hours of volunteering. Also, people who weigh less than 110 pounds or have cold-like symptoms cannot participate.
Biomedical engineering student Michael Santos allowed the Lariat to follow him through the volunteer method. Immediately they requested he drink a bottle of water as he read instructions. Next, he was set up in a private black cubicle to answer health questions and sign a release form.
“I usually don’t have time, but I passed on giving blood last year and decided this year I wouldn’t miss the opportunity,” said Santos. “I don’t care who gets my blood as long as it helps somebody.”
Santos was then asked to lay on a black cushioned table as they siphoned blood from his left arm. Thirty minutes later, he woke from his rest with ample vials of blood to give.
According to the American Red Cross, only 3% of people in the U.S. give blood. Santos was awarded a free t-shirt for his contribution.