Volunteers pump community with hard work

Sarah Haas

A mere five percent of eligible Americans actually donate blood, according to Amy Vetter, donor recruitment representative of the American Red Cross.

In an effort to reach new donors and attract previous ones, the Red Cross is hosting a blood drive in cooperation with students from the Gerdin Citizenship Program on Thursday in the Pioneer Room in the Memorial Union.

The Gerdin Citizenship Program, which is mostly geared toward freshmen and sophomores in the College of Business, aims to increase the worldliness of its participants through educational and community service opportunities.

Jeremy Weiss, sophomore in pre-business, and his co-leader, Kelsie Harvey, freshman in pre-business, organized the event in order to assist members of the program with their community service requirement and to help the community.

“We saw students in the program were struggling to find opportunities to volunteer, so we found activities that ISU students can help volunteer with – and the blood drive was something a large number of people could easily get involved in,” Weiss said.

Nearly 20 students will volunteer throughout the day to ensure Red Cross officials receive the assistance they need to keep the blood drive going smoothly. Vetter said donors should expect the entire process to last about an hour.

“It takes only five to 10 minutes to extract the blood, and then they haveto wait about 10 to 15 minutes in the canteen area to have a snack and make sure they are okay,” Vetter said.

Anyone in general good health over the age of 17 and who weighs more than 110 pounds can be eligible to donate blood.

“We take one pint of blood. Each body contains 10 to 12 pints of blood, and the one pint we remove will be replenished by the body naturally within 24 hours,” Vetter said.

From the blood drive on campus, the collected blood will travel to Wisconsin, where it will go through a 72-hour testing process to ensure it is safe to release.

Once through testing, the blood is transferred to a national inventory which distributes the blood to any area of the country that needs blood.

“Every two seconds, someone in the United States is in need of a pint of blood, and that one pint you donate can save up to three lives,” Vetter said.

Vetter and the student leaders of the Gerdin Citizenship Program have a goal of receiving 70 productive units of blood.

“In terms of recruitment of donors going from fall and spring drives, this drive is appointments-preferred, and we have roughly 80 appointments.”

“But we are also expecting a lot of walk-ins with that too, and we certainly want them to come in and donate,” Weiss said.

The use of Facebook has spread the word of the blood drive as well, alerting nearly one thousand people of the event.

“We’ve definitely had a great response to it, because we have certainly surpassed our goal so far without really doing a lot of advertising or recruitment,” Weiss said.

Gerdin Citizenship Program Blood Drive

When: Thursday

Time: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Where: Pioneer Room, Memorial Union

Facebook event title: ISU Blood Drive

Types of Blood

Blood Group AB

Individuals with this type have both A and B antigens, which stimulate the immune system, on the surface of their red blood cells (RBCs), and their blood serum does not contain any antibodies against either A or B antigen. Therefore, an individual with type AB blood can receive blood from any group (with AB being preferable), but can donate blood only to another group AB individual.

Blood Group A

Individuals have the A antigen on the surface of their RBCs and blood serum containing IgM antibodies against the B antigen. Therefore, a group A individual can receive blood only from individuals of groups A or O (with A being preferable), and can donate blood to individuals of groups A or AB.

Blood Group B

Individuals have the B antigen on the surface of their RBCs, and blood serum containing IgM antibodies against the A antigen. Therefore, a group B individual can receive blood only from individuals of groups B or O (with B being preferable) and can donate blood to individuals of groups B or AB.

Blood Group O

Individuals do not have either A or B antigens on the surface of their RBCs, but their blood serum contains IgM anti-A antibodies and anti-B antibodies against the A and B blood group antigens. Therefore, a group O individual can receive blood only from a group O individual, but can donate blood to individuals of any ABO blood group (i.e. A, B, O or AB). If anyone needs a blood transfusion in a dire emergency, and if the time taken to process the recipient’s blood would cause a detrimental delay, O negative blood can be issued.

Individuals with type O negative blood are often called universal donors, and those with type AB positive blood are called universal recipients.

Source: Australian Red Cross, American Red Cross and www.bloodbook.com