Have you ever given blood?
We’re not talking about the tough-guy “Give blood: Play hockey” sort of giving. Have you ever donated blood to a medical organization? According to the American Red Cross, approximately 9.2 million people in the United States donate blood each year, generating more than 1.1 million gallons of that red, iron-y, plasmatic liquid that makes us all tick. So, there’s a good chance if you’re reading this, you’ve given a pint or two.
In the past when you would donate, you’d drive to the hospital, check in, sit down and begin to wait. Perhaps you’d engage in a bit of small talk with the other donors while flipping through an outdated issue of Golf Digest. Then, when you’re number was called, they would bring you in and pull a nice healthy pint (about a tenth of your overall supply) from your bloodstream. After about 15 to 20 minutes, you decided the dizziness had worn off enough for you to drive back home, brimming with the feel-good knowledge that the blood you gave could later save someone’s life.
Through the years, not much has changed with the whole process. But now, sometimes, the hospital will come to you.
As was the case last week at Cypress, where the Cedar-Sinai Medical Center brought one of their mobile units to campus and set up shop for two days of hemo-philanthropy. People young and old were there to contribute to the cause. Although some had donated several times, many were first-timers.
Ryan Johnstonbaugh of Associated Students had some helpful words for those unfamiliar with the process.
“It’s not something that’s going to overwhelm you,” he said. “It’s a simple act of kindness, and through doing it, you essentially save lives.”
When asked about why they were donating blood, many students had the same, noble answer. Jacob Filip, a 20-year-old paramedics major kindly submits: “I think I do it because if it were me, I’d wan’t someone to do it for me.”
Others had a more practical reasons.
“I’m just waiting for my girlfriend to get out of class, and I thought, ‘What a perfect opportunity,'” chuckled Zach, a 23 year-old mortuary science major.
A student who wished not to be named simply wanted to know his own blood type: another practical reason, with the possibility of life-saving results.
Overall, 216 people were able to donate over the two days of the event; 128 of those donors were new, meaning they did not participate at any previous Cedar-Sinai donation events. According to blood drive coordinator Cheryl J. Barlow, Cedar-Sinai plans to bring their mobile unit back to Cypress College on April 24 with the hopes of another successful blood drive. Although the number of donors was significantly lower than last semester, everyone involved can agree on one thing:
Every pint counts.