A chance for others

Eddie Kilroy

The American Red Cross is holding a blood drive at the DeWeese Health Center today. Many students most likely will pass by without considering the benefits of this generous donation. It sounds sad, but it is the unfortunate truth. In fact, according to a list of facts posted on the Web site of America’s Blood Centers, less than 10 percent of Americans donate blood every year.

I believe the issue of the blood shortage can be handled if we, the good citizens, take the time to donate. And I believe we can start right here at Kent State.

Every year, about 4.5 million people in the U.S. and Canada will need a blood transfusion. The donated blood provided by the American Red Cross also assists those who have diseases such as cancer, sickle cell anemia and other illnesses.

It is estimated that the amount of blood needed will increase by 9 percent with the increase in population over the next several years. That small percentage means that tens of thousands of people will need more blood as disease and surgeries increase over time.

I know what you’re thinking: It seems like a huge commitment. It seems like there is nothing that we college students can do to help the cause. We don’t have time between classes and work. We can, however, do something.

If it seems like it takes too much time to donate, don’t worry. Most donations only take anywhere from 45-90 minutes, depending on if you’re a first-time donor. If you’re new at donating, all you need to do is go through a simple screening process, which takes about 10-15 minutes.

If it seems like you’re getting nothing out of it, have no fear. Red Cross donation areas provide free food to those who participate. Not only that, but the satisfaction of knowing you could be helping someone is a good feeling as well. In fact, one pint of donated blood could save up to three people.

The facts above are pretty substantial, but there still will be people who think that because others are donating, they shouldn’t worry about it. This assumption is wrong.

The fact is that there are many blood types that people need. Even if others donate, the chance that your blood is the same type as someone else’s is slim. The more blood we donate, the better. But the more varieties of blood that are donated will significantly aid those who need help the most.

Donating blood will help people, but I bet there are people out there who still question why they need to help.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a health system leader in receiving blood donations, more than 25 percent of Americans will need at least one pint of donated blood in their lifetime. This means that one of every four people will need a blood donation.

With so much good coming out of an hour’s time, I encourage everyone to go to the Health Center anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. today. If you can’t donate blood, you can still donate funds to aid the Red Cross’ cause to those who need help in hospitals. As a bonus incentive, Chipotle has agreed to give one free gift card to every person who comes and donates a pint of blood. It’s a nice benefit for helping to save someone’s life.

If you would like more information about donating blood or the American Red Cross, you can visit www.redcross.org.

We have a huge opportunity to help those people who need it. This little donation can go a long way for someone sitting in a hospital bed. It is a simple task that will go a long way for someone who is waiting for his or her saving grace.

Eddie Kilroy is a sophomore communications studies major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]