Blood drive gets ‘phenomenal’ turnout, raises 315 pints

Erin Elfeldt

The American Red Cross is an organization whose success is largely dependent on the kindness of society. The Quinnipiac community aided the group by giving blood at a three-day blood drive held on campus last week.

“Quinnipiac usually does a phenomenal job. We wish we could get this kind of involvement everywhere,” said Chris Donovan, American Red Cross Team Supervisor for the Connecticut region.

Faculty and students from all grades filled Alumni Hall from 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Due to the response from the Quinnipiac community in previous years, the Red Cross brought three, rather than two, Aphersis donation machines, which allows two, rather than one, pint of blood to be taken from a patient at one time. It is the separator centrifuge utilized in this process that separates and returns the parts of the blood that are not needed to the donor. This process is extremely efficient as less blood is wasted, and more of what is needed is obtained and it usually leaves donors feeling less fatigued than if they were to give one whole blood donation.

“We usually use this donation process on type B and O donors because they are the most needed,” Donovan said.

This blood drive marked the sixth consecutive year Quinnipiac has held the event, which was co-sponsored by Tau Kappa Epsilon and the Community Action Project. The event usually collects about 200 to 300 pints of blood for the organization.

“It is a great opportunity for us to be a part of one of the campuses biggest philanthropy events,” said Nate Frost, junior political science major, and philanthropy chair of Tau Kappa Epsilon. The blood drive yielded a collection of 315 pints of blood, exceeding the groups’ expectations, he said.

Sticking to the event’s tradition, the donating took place between the familiar wooden paneled Alumni Hall walls, where volunteers from the sponsoring club and American Red Cross strived to keep the atmosphere welcoming and relaxing for the donators.

“We try to keep as many of us in here as we can, to help make the process a little more relaxed and provide a little more of a social environment while people wait to give blood,” said Frost.

Setting an appropriate tone seemed to be a success.

“The woman was shocked that it only took me seven minutes to donate, but then she said ‘who couldn’t relax listening to Black Sabbath,” said Lauren Knapp, senior public relations major.

Donovan agreed that creating this time of mood in the room filled with 15 hospital beds has a positive impact on the collective donation outcome.

“If people are having a little fun while they are in here, it makes it easier,” said Donovan.

Although those who walked through Alumni doors may have held different amounts of donating experience and anxiety levels, many held the same ultimate reason for being there: saving lives.

“It is very rewarding to know that only 10 minutes of my time helped to save or at least help three lives,” Knapp said.

Debra Forte, a first-time donor and senior public relations major said the time she spent with anxious stomach turns was more than worth it, and something she plans to do on a regular basis from now on.

“I started getting nervous because I couldn’t feel my fingers at the end, but that was the worst thing that happened,” Forte said.

According to the Connecticut Blood Service Region of the American Red Cross Web site, “Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood. But only 5 percent of the eligible donors in the U.S. give blood in any given year. Despite all medical advances, healthy volunteer blood donors are the only source of blood.”