The American Red Cross Donation Bus visited Francis Marion University (FMU) on September 3 in the Parking Lot H Lawn.
From 11am until 5pm, many students were able to provide valuable and needed donations by walking up to the tents, or by making an appointment at redcrossblood.org using the sponsor code FMU. The whole donation process took just over an hour and was completely safe and confidential.
There are many positive reasons to donate blood and plasma. The Red Cross always experiences a demand for donations; somebody in the United States needs blood every two seconds. This equates to hundreds of thousands of donations needed every day. In just one visit, the amount of blood that is given can save three lives. Providing the Red Cross with blood, a renewable substance, is a great way to make a difference and save lives in the community.
Brandi McBrayer, a sophomore who regularly donates blood stated, “I like to donate. I’ve had family members that have needed blood transfusions and where else would they have gotten the blood if people didn’t donate it?” McBrayer’s story is similar to thousands across the nation, who have all been touched by generous donors.
Donations are easy and safe to give. After registering, the donor is given a private mini-physical: checking pulse rate, blood pressure, body temperature and hemoglobin. Donors are then asked to answer questions concerning their medical history confidentially on a computer. When the blood is collected in a pint-sized bag and test tubes, the blood is chilled on ice until it is transported to the Red Cross Donation Center. This process is crucial to maintain the viability of the blood and to ensure the blood stays safe.
When the blood reaches the Center, it is spun in a centrifuge to separate the red cells, platelets and plasma, which are each sent to be tested individually. The blood is then transmitted to the Red Cross National Testing Laboratories and is put through dozens of tests. The results are electronically transmitted back to the Donation Center. If blood tested positively for any disease or illness, the donation is discarded and the donor is informed. Suitable units are stored appropriately and distributed to hospitals any hour of the day, any day of the week.
The American Red Cross has certain guidelines given to donors for preparing and recovering from donation. Donors should ensure that the week before they stay well hydrated and eat a diet of iron-rich foods. The day of, donors should be comfortably dressed and should bring a form of ID as well as a list of medications that they are currently taking. Afterwards, it’s important to stay hydrated and avoid heavy lifting and exercise for the rest of the day.
Students from all over campus took time out of their busy days to donate to a worthy cause. Next time the Bloodmobile rolls onto campus, make sure you’re there to save lives with the American Red Cross.