Emergency Blood Drive Held for Natural Disaster Relief

by Katie Heneghan Staff Writer

On Monday, Sept. 24 and Thursday, Sept. 27,  Manhattan College students and faculty participated in a blood drive for the New York Blood Center. Although the drive is not directly for the benefit of victims of Hurricane Florence, these blood donations will help ease some of the need as a result of the storm.

On Monday, 61 students and faculty donated, and on Thursday, 54 donated, totaling 115 donations.

Donors were given the option to donate red blood cells, whole blood units and double red blood cells. The blood center received 54 units of red cells, 22 double red cell donations and 32 whole units of blood.

MC typically has two blood drives a year and is in partnership with the New York Blood Drive. This year’s blood drive took place in Smith Auditorium and was open for seven hours both days.

Junior Nicholas Pagan was one of many students who chose to donate blood.

“I’m just doing my part to help out,” says Pagan.

Despite her fear of needles, Gabby Montes, a junior,  chose to donate anyway.

“[I donated] because it helps save a lot of lives and it’s just a good thing to do. It comes from a place of love and caring for people,” Montes said.

The Blood Drive is organized by Robin Friehling, an account manager for the New York Blood Center, and Campus Ministry.

In response to Hurricane Florence, Friehling said, “In order to be able to help we have to have sufficient blood to meet our local community needs and then were able to be in a position to provide elsewhere.”

There is a particular need for donations at this time due to the flooding and damage in the Carolinas which has prevented them from collecting sufficient donations to maintain their general needs.

One of the challenges faced by Friehling and the New York Blood Center is getting student donors to give more than once a year. The Blood Drives strategically happen once in the fall semester and again in the spring semester. This is due to the fact that eight weeks after donating blood one is eligible to donate again.

As for the future of Blood Drives at Manhattan College, Friehling hopes to work with some sort of student advocacy group to promote and educate students and faculty for future drives.

Blood donations have historically decreased at MC, but through education and advocacy Friehling hopes to change that.

In the state of New York, anyone over the age of 16 is eligible to donate blood. If someone is in good health, he or she is generally able to donate. Some of the only limitations are getting tattoos within the last year, taking any prescription medication or if one has any health conditions that prevent someone from donating.

MC will be holding another blood drive in February in hopes of reaching more engineering students who spend their days on the South Campus.

Later in the spring, they will return to the main campus for a second drive in hopes of increasing the number of overall donors.

“Money can’t buy everything, and one of the things that money can’t buy, is blood. If a human being needs the medicine called blood it must come from another human being. This is one of the few charitable giving opportunities that you have where 100 percent of what you give goes to the cause,” said Friehling. “One out of three people will need a blood donation in their lifetime, and one out of seven patients entering the hospital need blood as part of their treatment.”