Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Students Give Blood During Statewide Shortage
The American Red Cross drew an overwhelming response to its Tuesday blood drive in the Thousand Oaks Room of the University Student Union.
“We usually get 20 to 30 people depending on the event,” said Sherry Nikirk, Red Cross senior account manager. “Today we’ve had an unexpected turn out.”
According to Nikirk, high school and college campuses are the best places to get donors because many of the students like to miss class or have long breaks and need to kill time.
“Many people don’t donate because it’s inconvenient or because they personally haven’t been asked to do so,” said Nikirk. “California actually imports 60 to 90 percent of its blood.”
Melissa Torres, a junior psychology major, donated blood today for her tenth time.
“I started doing it in high school and do it as often as I can,” said Torres, 21. “Many people feel ill after but I feel wonderful when I am done.”
Red Cross officials report blood from one person can save at least three lives because of how it can be broken down into three components: red blood cells, platelets and plasma.
Many people in need of donated blood only need one of the components. Plasma alone can be used to regenerate the skin of burn victims, said Nikirk.
Dennis Yongmaneeratana, 26, a liberal arts senior, has given blood at least nine times and today he met the requirements to donate plasma.
“It’s my good deed for the day,” said Yongmaneeratana. “I feel good when I do it.”
Every month the Red Cross sets up donation centers at the CSUN campus with hopes to raise awareness of the blood shortage in California.
Red Cross statistics show that no more than four percent of people in Southern California donate blood.
Though the Red Cross is in great need of donors, not everyone is suitable to donate.
According to blood donor eligibility guidelines, unlikely candidates would include those who’re anemic, have gotten a tattoo within 12 months or have donated blood in the last 56 days.
Donors are required to complete an extensive screening process prior to donating. This includes a series of questions and a pinprick to the finger for some minor blood tests.
The Red Cross sets up blood drive centers every month on campus.