Blood Drive Strikes a Nerve

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By: Jon Martel

One in seven people entering a hospital will need blood. Someone needs blood every two seconds and approximately 4.5 million Americans will need a blood transfusion each year, according to America’s Blood Center’s website.

Jacksonville University welcomed The Blood Alliance on Tuesday. Their bus parked outside of the Council building where students were able to donate blood from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

“The thing is there is no substitute for human blood,” said Kahala Adams with Donor Resources at The Blood Alliance. “If all blood donors gave three times a year, blood shortages would be a rare event. The current average is about two.”

Adams has been working with The Blood Alliance and said that if it was not for college and high school students, the organization would not have any blood to donate.

“We are the sole providers of blood from Jacksonville to North Carolina,” she said. “We supply blood to 14 hospitals.”

Erin Sullivan, a senior accounting major, feels that it is necessary to donate blood if the person is healthy enough to do so because there is always a need for it.

“Every day people need transfusions,” Sullivan said. “Plus you never know if you or someone you love might need one some day.”

Tuesday was the fifth time Sullivan has donated blood.

“My first experience was in high school and it was pretty normal for what it was,” she said. “I was nervous at first but once the needle was in, it went pretty quick and I was glad that I had done it.”

Stanley Blanc, a sophomore nursing major, donated blood for the second time on Tuesday. For Blanc, donating blood hits a personal note as well.

“I know a few people who died in the emergency room from excessive bleeding because they weren’t able to get a transfusion in time,” Blanc said. “This happens almost all the time in my home country Haiti. I want to save as many lives as I can while I still can. You never know what might happen in the future. You might be the one needing a blood transfusion to save your life. Wouldn’t you be relieved to know that somebody has graciously donated the blood that you desperately needed to stay alive? Think about it.”

Anyone who is in good health, at least 17 years old (16 with parental consent) and weighs at least 110 pounds may donate blood every 56 days, Adams said. All blood types should donate, even though AB- and O are the rarest. Adams herself used to donate regularly until she started facing issues with her kidneys. She continues to encourage others to keep up with the donations.

“One thing we really look forward to is getting the Greek organizations involved,” Adams said. “We actually have this thing at the end of the year where the organization with the most donors gets a trophy.”

Sullivan looks forward to the idea of donating regularly, something she takes after her own mother.

“She’s donated over 70 gallons of blood and platelets in her lifetime so she’s the one that got me into donating,” Sullivan said.

Blanc sees donating as something that helps others and himself. He thinks it’s necessary to donate blood because it is a renewable resource in the body. It regenerates all by itself. Donating blood also reduces the risk of having heart diseases down the road. So it’s a win-win situation for the donor and the receiver since it saves lives while promoting their own wellness.

Blanc said he will continue to donate as long as his body allows.

“I would definitely do it again. Why? Simply because I’m blessed enough to be in a position where I can donate blood at any given time. Donating blood is the gift that keeps on giving. Gotta pass it on!”

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