by Megan Dreher & Shannon Gleba , Senior Writer & Copy Editor
Manhattan College’s winter blood drive took place in Kelly Commons on Feb. 12 from 12-6 p.m. Campus Ministry and Social Action invited students and faculty to donate blood through the New York Blood Center. Below are interviews by those most involved in planning the drive and bringing this opportunity to MC:
Shannon Forty, senior biology major
The Quad: How were you involved with this blood drive?
Shannon Forty: I was involved in this blood drive by helping to promote the blood drive on campus as well as to help set up day-of. I helped out by hanging flyers and posters, passing stickers, and telling everyone by word of mouth to please donate. I also helped by setting up the recovery station with adorable Valentine’s Day decorations.
TQ: Why do you think donating blood is important?
SF: Donating blood is important, because there are so many people who rely on blood transfusions, and blood donations from people like us are the only way they can get them. I worked in Pediatric Oncology this summer, which allowed me to see first-hand the recipients of blood transfusions and how necessary they are to those who are most in need, in particular patients with blood cancers. I think a lot of times when people think of blood transfusions, they think of emergency or surgical patients, but in fact a lot of the need for blood is in Oncology or other long-term conditions. On a personal level, my grandfather relied on blood transfusions every few days towards the end of his life, so those donations were very valuable to my family and I.
TQ: What would you tell a student who is hesitant to donate blood?
SF: I know it is hard and inconvenient and there are a lot of reasons not to donate blood, but the way that I see it, you are literally saving a life or allowing someone to survive. From my understanding, there is never enough blood to meet the high demand of sick or hurt people who need it. When the blood drive comes to campus, we have the chance to help these people directly and in my opinion and from a Lasallian perspective of Concern for the Poor and Social Justice, I believe we should do what we can.
Conor Reidy, Campus Ministry and Social Action
The Quad: How was the turnout for the blood drive earlier this week?
Conor Reidy: The drive registered 61 donors: 21 were deferred, 28 donated whole blood units and 12 people donated double red cell units on the ALYX machines – each counts as 2 – for a total of 52 units!
TQ: What role did you play in planning the drive?
CR: I am the on campus organizer for all blood drives at Manhattan. I work closest with the NYBC to plan, coordinate and execute our drives. This Includes booking the space, organizing our partners, and advertising the drive! Social media plays a big role in that final bit.
TQ: What advice would you give students who are hesitant to participate in a blood drive?
CR: I would say, only give if you’re comfortable donating! We do not want anyone to feel uncomfortable in this process. However, there are still a myriad of ways you can help besides donating. We need students to help advertise, spread the word, and help bring more attention to the vital nature of Blood Donation! If anyone reading this wants to get more involved with the blood drive, please reach out to me at email@example.com.
Robin S. Friehling, Account Manager New York Blood Center
The Quad: Why are blood drives important for students to participate in?
Robin Friehling: Blood drives are the vehicles through which we get our community blood supply. There is no other source of blood for human beings who need it than other human beings. One out of three of us will need blood in our lifetime, and one out of seven patients entering a hospital for treatment requires blood as part of their treatment. The need for blood will touch everyone personally at some point in their life, if not yourself, then someone very close to you. This is our community blood supply.
TQ: What are some common misconceptions about donating blood?
RF: If I ever need blood, my family will donate for me.” No matter whether your blood donor is a total stranger or a beloved family member, the blood will have to be compatible with yours, the donor will have to meet all the blood donor eligibility requirements, and the blood will have to go through testing, separation into components, labeling, packaging and shipping to the hospital – a process that takes approximately 48 hours. If you don’t have at least 48 hours lead time, your lifesaving blood transfusion(s) is(are) going to come from the community blood supply.
“I’ll be careful. I won’t get seriously hurt. I’ll never need blood.” The largest “user” group in terms of numbers of people requiring blood transfusions are cancer patients. The second largest user group is newborns and their moms. It is not the trauma victims that define the statistics. While one trauma patient can require many, many units of blood, that is still only one patient. It is causes that are common to all of us that make up those statistics.
Many people are shocked to learn that the NY/NJ area has a daily need for 2000 units of blood. Your blood drive is one part of a huge puzzle that we fit together every day to bring in the blood needed. NYBC is running 30 to 35 blood drives every day Monday through Friday, and a smaller number on the weekends. And then we hope that the donations that pass testing and enter the blood supply result in sufficient blood of each of the blood types needed by the patients in the hospitals we serve.
TQ: What role do you play in the organization of blood drives?
RF: I am called an Account Manager. My role is to work with our partner groups in my assigned territory. I am assigned to Rockland County, where I live, the River Towns in Westchester, and Riverdale. I work with the Blood Drive Chairpersons from each of my donor groups to schedule their blood drives, and to put together a pre-drive donor recruitment program that will hopefully produce the results that we project. My job is to ensure efficient use of the Blood Center’s resources and good service to our donors, all while meeting a numeric goal – number of units of blood – that my territory must produce each month. I am responsible for over 200 blood drives each year in my territory, with an annual goal of approximately 10,000 units of blood.