This Halloween blood can save lives

Austin VanPelt, Contributing Writer

Because of hurricanes and other natural disasters, there has been in increase in the need for blood across the world. Organizations around Eastern have been holding blood drives to help with this need.

Kelsey Gaby, president of the American Red Cross Blood Drive Committee, said as a result of all the hurricanes the American Red Cross is at its busiest. She said one person requires a blood transfusion every 3 seconds.

“Sponsoring a drive is a good way to get the name of your club or group recognized,” Gaby said.

Gaby said the American Red Cross has about a blood drive a month on campus.

This semester so far, Delta Chi hosted a blood drive Sept. 26, to help out the American Red Cross.

This month, the sorority Epsilon Sigma Alpha will be hosting their second ever blood drive on Oct. 31, which will be open to Eastern students and the Charleston community.

Other sororities such as Delta Zeta, will host a blood drive in December.

Volunteer work is not a requirement for every chapter, President of ESA Emily Plesnicar said.

“We don’t get volunteer hours or anything in general for doing it, we just do it to give back and for the volunteer opportunity,” Plesnicar said.

ESA has been committed to drawing attention on their upcoming blood drive she said.

“We have posted on social media, wearing T-shirts around campus and hanging up banners,” Plesnicar said.
Plesnicar said this type of dedication by the sorority is all in hopes to make their blood drive successful.

“EIU students always help make our goal drives to be successful. The last three drives on campus have exceeded our goal of productive units collected,” Gaby said.

Every unit of blood received can potentially save up to three lives because it can be separated into various components that may help more than one person.

Giving blood can seem so little to the person who is donating, but depending on the amount of blood someone donates, it could be life changing for those it saves, Gaby said.

“I donate blood to pay back the system,” Gaby said. “My sophomore year of high school I was in a serious car accident, and while in the hospital, I received 3 blood transfusions. If it weren’t for the selfless acts of people I’ve never met, I wouldn’t be alive today, and I am forever grateful.”

Plesnicar said it is exciting to be able to provide an opportunity for students and faculty here at Eastern to give blood.

She said those who participate will be giving up 10 minutes of their day to potentially help individuals who are in desperate need of blood.

“It is an empowering experience,” Plesnicar said.

Anybody can host a blood drive but there are things people who would like to donate should know beforehand, she said.

“You must weigh at least 110 pounds. If you are not feeling well the day of the drive, you should not give blood,” Gaby said.

Gaby said you must have an iron level of 12.5 or higher to be eligible to donate. Recently traveling to certain countries may also make you ineligible to donate. Having cold or flu symptoms the day of the drive also makes you ineligible to give.

“Only an estimated 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood at any given time, but less than 10 percent of that eligible population actually do each year,” Gaby said.

Gaby said a large majority of people will either need to receive blood or have a loved one who will need to receive blood in their lifetime.

“Even though you may not require a blood transfusion now, you never know what the future may hold,” Gaby said. “I like to think that you’re donating blood now just in case you may need it later down the line.”

 

Austin VanPelt can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]