Blood drive aims to save lives

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Life Share: meeting the demand in Northeast OH

Chris Ramos

The blood donation nonprofit Vitalant came to Kent State’s Student Center Tuesday to kick off a two-day blood drive.

Katy Neff, a donor recruiter for Vitalant, said the two-day drive is to help reach a goal of having 27 total donors for the month of January.

“For our September drives, we aim for 70 (donors). In the summer, we aim for 15,” Neff said. “Our September drives are definitely the biggest.”

One-in-seven people entering a hospital need blood, with Northeast Ohio patients requiring more than 40,000 units of blood per year, according to Vitalant’s website.

A $500 student scholarship is created by Vitalant for every 50 units of blood collected during the academic year, offered to both donors and non-donors.

To qualify for the scholarships, students must be enrolled as a full-time or part-time undergraduate student at the Kent campus, in good academic standing.

Applicants also submit a one-page statement explaining why a student selected their major and what contributions would they like to make to their field of study.

Along with helping someone in need, students who participate are rewarded with a Chipotle gift card. As a former college student, Neff said she can relate with the incentives.

“I know when I donated, it was for the gift card,” Neff said. “But we do have a lot of regulars who look for us on campus. People will email me personally to schedule appointments.”

Amanda Stith, a phlebotomist for Vitalant, explained the process of having students registering, followed by answering a series of questions that determine their eligibility to donate.

A phlebotomist is a medical professional that is trained to draw blood from patients for medical testing, transfusions, donations or research.

A student’s vitals are recorded and their hemoglobin is checked to make sure their iron levels are high enough to donate. They are then moved to a phlebotomy bed to begin the procedure.

“You’re in bed from seven to 10 minutes, typically,” said Stith.

Despite the gift card incentive, students find greater value in helping others.

“It’s a really good opportunity to help people,” said Olivia Anderson, a freshman public health major.

Sarah Lane, a junior economics major that donates regularly, agreed with Anderson.

“I just think it’s a good way to give back to the community, you’re saving lives,” Lane said. “If I ever needed a blood transfusion, I would hope someone else is going to give blood.”

The blood drive will continue throughout the day Thursday.

Chris Ramos is a general assignment reporter. Contact him at [email protected]