Students donate to campus blood drives that aid surrounding communitiesBy Dustin Ginsberg | 05/31/2016 10:25pm
The American Red Cross Blood Drive is Wednesday March 2, noon-5 p.m in the Burke Hall Game Room. CW | Layton Dudley
Many people think of homecoming week as a week filled with pomping, float decorations and parade planning. There is one thing most students don’t associate with it: blood. Blood donations are not foreign to this campus.
Every semester, signs and banners can be seen telling students where and when to donate. Homecoming week is no different. LifeSouth was on campus from Wednesday to Friday, collecting donations from eligible students. Students rolled up their sleeves, braved the needles and then got some juice and went on with their daily routine, most without ever thinking: what happens to my donated blood?
LifeSouth is a community blood organization, meaning that blood donated goes to the nearby communities and isn’t sent to hospitals that are far away.
“Blood donated on The University of Alabama campus goes as far east as Birmingham and as far west as the state line,” said Brian Garrett, LifeSouth community development coordinator for the Birmingham region. “Huntsville and Montgomery all have their own banks and the majority of the blood is distributed to Druid City Hospital and the various hospitals in Birmingham.”
According to LifeSouth, blood is always in short supply and around 4.5 million Americans will need a blood transfusion this year. That equals around 44,000 donations a day to fill every patient’s need.
“While we can always use more blood, University of Alabama students do a tremendous job of providing us with blood,” Garrett said. “Every drive held at UA yields 25 to 75 donors, which is a huge amount. After we have taken your blood, it is shipped to our testing lab where we test for various blood diseases and defects. This process takes around three days, and, if all clear, your blood is in the fridge at one of many local hospitals.”
According to their website, LifeSouth is very careful during testing and screens each donation separately. Ensuring blood is safe is their number one priority.
Corliss Jones works many blood drives and is always happy to come out to campus.
“Students are usually the most excited to give,” Jones said. “You can tell they love to feel that they have helped their community.”
Gavin Davis is a freshman who has given once while at Alabama and several times in high school.
“It is just such a simple thing you can do that can save so many lives,” Davis said. “It takes 30 minutes out of your day, and you can give life to up to three people. It is just amazing.”
The next drives are Oct. 14 and Nov. 18, and workers look forward to coming each time.
“It is important to know the days in advance so you can eat a proper breakfast and make room in your schedule,” Jones said. “We hope to see you come by and we have some awesome T-shirts for our generous volunteers.”