Eastern students help save lives by donating blood


Rob Le Cates

Clarissa Sager (right), a senior business management major, prepares herself before Heaven Bonelli (left) inserts the needle to draw blood Tuesday afternoon in between the Doudna Fine Arts Center and the Union. Bonelli has worked with ImpactLife since January as a phlebotomist for more than two years.

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Campus Reporter

Dozens of students, faculty members and members of the Charleston community donated blood during Eastern’s first blood drive of the fall semester on Tuesday afternoon.  

Eastern partnered with ImpactLife for the blood drive, a local community blood center that supplies blood to over 100 hospitals in four states: Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin.  

Jim Watts, the manager of donor and government relations at ImpactLife, said donating blood is important because “there’s no substitute for blood,” but there is always a need for it.  

“Blood is used in so many ways,” Watts said. “It could be a normal routine surgery, heart valve replacement, an organ transplant. But it could also be a trauma, an accident on the interstate, a mother who’s giving birth and has a complication. Any one of those incidents could require 50 units of blood, and that’s a lot. Our blood drive today will probably get 20 to 25 units, so that’s two days of coming out here to Eastern for one patient that might need a transfusion. To put that in a bigger picture, we need a lot of blood.”  

Watts also said that it is estimated that someone needs blood every two seconds in the United States, and that the local region ImpactLife covers needs about 3,600 units of blood every week.  

“It’s really tough during the holiday, so we’re glad to be back on campus and getting students,” Watts said.  

Some students said that they donated because they wanted to help others. 

One such student is Carman Worcester, a freshman kinesiology student, who said she has been donating blood since she turned 16-years-old.  

“It’s just always a good opportunity to help out, and everybody’s always needing blood when they have leukemia or any other health issues,” Worcester said. “And I think it’s just a good thing to do,” Worcester said.

Clarissa Sager, a senior business management student, said she has been donating blood for over a year now. 

She said she decided to start donating blood after her brother was in an accident that led to him needing a blood transfusion. 

“My brother was in a really bad accident last year, and he had to get blood transferred,” Sager said. “He was in Indiana, but it was really hard to find his type. I just felt really bad because I have O negative, and if I would have started sooner, like just helping out, he would have had blood cells.”  

PJ Allen, a senior exercise science student, said he has been donating blood since he started his education at Eastern. 

He said that donating blood is important because you never know when you will need it.  

“It’s important to me because I feel like you never know if something could happen to you one day,” Allen said. “Hopefully it doesn’t, but if it does, someone else’s donation of blood could be the reason you survive.”  

Watts said that a lot of times, people get inspired to donate blood when “they are touched personally by a situation or a tragedy.”  

“My encouragement would be don’t wait till that happens, right?” Watts said. “Make sure that blood is there at the hospital when it’s needed.” 

“If you’re thinking about [donating blood], think about the person that it’s going to save, the person that it’s going to help in the hospital,” Watts said.

The next blood drive will be Sept. 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. between the Doudna Fine Arts Center and the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. Masks and appointments are required.  

Those interested in donating blood can do so by emailing the primary blood drive coordinator, Sam Laingen, at [email protected] or calling ImpactLife at 800-747-5401. One can also schedule an appointment by going on www.bloodcenter.org/panthers


Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].