This upcoming Tuesday, Oct. 9, Gustavus will host a Red Cross Blood Drive.
The event will be put on by the Gustavus Student Nursing Association and sponsored by the Epsilon Pi Alpha Fraternity.
Gustavus has a history of hosting biannual Red Cross blood drives.
In 2017, the men and women’s soccer teams gave a helping hand in the event.
This year Co-Presidents of the Gustavus Student Nursing Association, Drew Weis and Becky Thayer, were tasked with organizing the event.
“We usually get in contact with an account representative from the American Red Cross. The past couple years we’ve worked with Caroline Olstad. She’s been so helpful when it comes to setting up these sorts of events,” Weis said. “In order to plan for the blood drive in the fall, we usually connect towards the end of the spring semester–a couple months after the completion of the spring blood drive. Together we figure out the logistics of the blood drive.”
The Red Cross gave some basic information on blood drives.
“Donating blood is a safe, quick process. It includes registration, medical history and mini-physical, donation, and refreshments,” the Red Cross said.
The Red Cross personnel first evaluate each donator in order to ensure that they are eligible to give blood.
This includes checking the donor’s body temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and hemoglobin to ensure it is safe for the donor to give blood.
Not everyone is eligible. Only 38 percent of the United State’s population meets the Red Cross standards for giving blood.
“Donating blood is a safe, quick process… Every two seconds in the United States somone needs blood.”
-The Red Cross
Donors must be in good health and feeling well. They must be 16 years of age or older and weigh over 110 pounds.
People looking to donate must also not have donated within the last 56 days.
Some typical circumstances that disqualify people from donating blood are that they have a low iron count in their blood, have travelled outside the United States recently, or have another illness that may contaminate their blood sample.
Many students gave blood for the first time at past blood drives and many are expected to do the same during the upcoming event.
The blood draw is relatively painless so even those afraid of needles can handle the process.
“I was definitely worried about needles, but it went smoothly,” Jarod Petrovic, a player for the men’s soccer team said at the blood drive last year. “The nurses were great, and I was happy to take part in such a great cause.”
“We also had several players give blood for the first time,” the now retired soccer coach Mike Middleton said at the 2017 blood drive. “Hopefully, that may lead to a lifetime of helping giving blood. It’s such a worthwhile cause.”
The donation portion of the process takes only about 15 minutes.
After donating, drinks and snacks are always provided for free. The average time people spend at a blood drive is about one hour. Donors say that the time is well spent because of the cause.
“Every two seconds in the United States someone needs blood,” the Red Cross said.
The demand for blood is very high. The blood donated is used in surgeries, cancer treatments, and traumatic injuries.
Each donation will likely be used soon after it is given. Blood is always used within 42 days after it is taken by the Red Cross.
“The Eppies (Epsilon Pi Alpha fraternity members) will be helping out with volunteering along with the rest of the Gustavus Student Nursing Association board and junior and senior nursing students,” Weis said.
The event is expected to run smoothly and get as much blood donated as possible.