With January wrapped up, yesterday also marked the end of what the American Red Cross and other blood service organizations had designated Volunteer Blood Donor Month. With donated blood levels constantly in the red (pun intended), winter months usually show the greatest shortage because many habit donors are on holiday vacations or ill and unable to give.
According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood. More than 38,000 donations are needed in hospitals every day, for anyone from accident victims to organ donor recipients. Everyone expects blood to be there if they need it, yet a very small number of those able to donate actually do.
This is especially true of college students. About 15 percent of blood collected by the Red Cross comes from high school and college students. But the number of eligible students who refuse to give blood because they are “afraid of needles” is disgraceful.
What could make a student overcome his or her fear? A family member in need of a donation? A classmate? A roommate? With 13 million people needing donations each year, it’s not inconceivable that one day someone you care about might need one too. Each donation you make could save up to three lives. And the lives you save may not be those of your family members or your classmates, but the loved ones of the people saved would no doubt be very thankful for your help.
The opportunity is right at your door. Almost weekly, organizations sponsor opportunities for students to give blood without even having to leave campus. On Jan. 25, the office of Residential and Community Development sponsored a blood drive in conjunction with the New Jersey Athletic Conference in Decker Hall. On Feb. 16 the Red Cross will be back to conduct a drive from noon to 6 p.m. in the Travers/Wolfe Lounge.
So get off Facebook for five minutes, suck it up and do something worthwhile. By sacrificing an hour and a little bit of blood that you weren’t using anyway, you could save lives and get over that pesky fear of needles. And you’ll even get cookies when you’re done. That’s right, I said cookies.
The Future Alumni Association, Circle K, Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority and the Student Government Association will be conducting a sign up for the Feb. 16 donation today. Sign-up from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the student center. You can also sign up by going to pleasegiveblood.org/donate and clicking on colleges/universities. So get to it. You may not have a good feeling about needles, but I promise afterward you’ll have a good feeling about what you’ve done.