Sun. Jan 16th, 2022

Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood. On, Thursday, Mar. 22, over 50 West Chester University students did their part in the eighth American Red Cross blood drive held on Campus this academic year.

Already the Red Cross and the University are content with student’s selflessness in donating, but are still trying to help local patients of all ages and afflictions.

“Understanding there is some hesitation with students doing it for the first time, I think if they do it they will find it isn’t that involved of a process,” stressed Peter Galloway, Director of Housing Services. “They can do a lot of good and it’s the right thing to do.”

The American Red Cross estimates, since the beginning of last semester WCU students donated over 300 pints of blood, which affected close to 1,000 local patients at area hospitals.

On campus, about 10 percent of students have given blood doubling the national rate. That figure has progressively increased after the blood drives on campus were reinstituted in the late 1990s.

“We try to connect with individual students,” Galloway added. “Since [Residence Life] is where the students live, we want to encourage them [to utilize the opportunity]”

At the two locations blood was given, Tyson and Goshen Halls, over 50 units were donated in the six hour time period including Red blood-cell donations specially administered to sensitive patients like burn victims.

“I was always taught you should help others,” said freshman Jon Drozd, a student who donated blood in Goshen Hall. “It just seems like the right thing to do.”

According to the Red Cross, approximately 38,000 blood donations are needed every day for an annual 14 million blood transfusions per year in the United States, and West Chester is as strong a part of the donation process as anywhere.

“We depend upon the high school and colleges,” said Peggy Wolfgang, Senior Manager of Operations for the Red Cross and a registered nurse. “We get 20 percent of our blood from [high schools and colleges] every year.”

As a region, the Penn-Jersey chapter of the American Red Cross depends on continuous donations from any available providers due to lack of donations. Also due to the Mar. 16 Ice storm, they virtually lost a day of blood donations which diminished supplies further, according to Wolfgang

However, weather is far from the Red Cross’ continued problems. According to the Red Cross, nationwide approximately 60 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, but only five percent give blood at least once in a year. Compound to that fact blood only remains useful for 42 days before it must be discarded so they need donations on a constant basis.

She continues encouraging students who give blood and to encourage others.

“Blood is invaluable,” Wolfgang continued “We can’t afford to turn anyone away.”

West Chester students may not understand to the extent each donation means as doctors or nurses do, but donate nevertheless.

“I feel better about myself for [giving blood]” McConaghy said sporting a “Be nice to me, I gave blood” sticker. “It’s not hard to do, either.”

Only two more blood drives will be held at West Chester University on Apr. 2 and Apr. 16 in Sanderson and Killinger Halls, respectively.

Further information about eligibility and scheduling is online at www.pleasegiveblood.org.

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