Tis’ the season to donate

Winter increases demand for blood

By Erika Walker
On December 1, 2016

According to the American Red Cross, winter is the most difficult times of year to collect enough blood to meet patient needs due to holiday travel and activities, seasonal illnesses that cause regular donors to be temporarily ineligible and cancelled blood drives because of extreme winter weather.

"It’s sometimes crazy to think that something that takes less than a half hour of my day can end up saving a life," freshman Madison Kelly said. "Blood drives used to take place at my high school, and I was always iffy about participating in them, so I never did back then. After I learned the benefits of donating blood, I try and do it every chance I get now."

Nursing student Jena Condron said she always hears students say they don’t donate blood because they don’t have time to do so, and it can be an inconvenience.

"Bringing the blood drive to campus makes it easier for students to go donate before or after classes, and it doesn’t leave them in a money or time crunch," Condron said.

Although nursing students did not assist in the blood drive, Condron said several of them donate whenever United Blood Services come to campus.

"Annually, Tri-Beta hosts blood drives in the fall and spring semester," Tri-Beta President Brooke Estes said. "United Blood Services Donor Recruitment Representative Sean Richey told me that we are about the biggest two-day blood drive on campus. With the help of some of the biology professors offering extra credit to their classes, we are able to continually have over 40 donors.

Condron said blood drives occur several times each semester, and a different student organization sponsors the drive each time.

"Our organization is constantly involved with various community service projects, but a blood drive is a different approach to helping others," Estes said. "There is an endless need for blood donations.

A blood donation is needed every two to three seconds, and about half the population will need donated blood at some time in their life, Estes said.

The blood donation process begins with a brief interview. Donors will be asked about medical history and current health.

Assistants will check the donor’s temperature, blood pressure, pulse and blood iron level.

The donor will then relax in a chair while a technician collects the blood donation.

After donating, donors receive a snack and can return to their normal routine.

Any student who wishes to schedule an appointment to donate blood during winter break can do so by visiting the San Angelo Donor Center on 2020 W. Beauregard Ave., or BPL Plasma, 2575 Sunset Drive.

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