Blood drive gives students opportunity to save lives

Halloween is just around the corner and, contrary to popular belief, vampires are not the only ones in need of blood. People all over the world struck by disaster or disease need blood in order to survive.

People depend on blood donations. One pint of your blood can save up to three lives, according to the American Red Cross website.

Every two seconds someone is in need of a blood transfusion, which adds up to about 5 million patients, just in the U.S., who need blood each year, according to the website. The challenge with this is that less than 38 percent of the population is eligible to give blood, meaning that those who can are extremely valuable and critical for patient survival.

Blood cannot be manufactured. It can only come from volunteer donors who are willing to spend an hour or two of their time to give blood to those in need. You can be one of those volunteers.

The American Red Cross is always in need of more donors of all blood types because only 7 percent of people in the U.S. have the universal donor blood type, O negative.

Donors of whole blood donations (one pint of blood) can give blood every 56 days. This allows the body to regenerate plasma and red blood cells.

The process is relatively easy. People can make an appointment through the American Red Cross at nearby locations, and when you arrive you fill out paperwork and answer a few questions. They test your blood by pricking your finger (not with fangs) and take your blood pressure.

There is a height and weight requirement, and there is the possibility of being turned away. The American Red Cross has to make sure every donor is healthy and able to give blood. If it is not safe for someone to give blood, volunteers typically still appreciate that someone took the time to try. People should not let one rejection stop them from trying again. Their blood pressure may have been just a little too high.

It is so easy to donate and it is practically painless. Feeling a little pinch in the arm is nothing compared to the feeling of helping save someone’s life.

Don’t have transportation to get to a donating site? No worries. UK has teamed up with the  Kentucky Blood Company and is holding a blood drive Nov. 10 (location still to be determined).

Contact the American Red Cross to set up an appointment. Get a whole group together to go save lives this Halloween season — sorry no vampires allowed.

Paidin Dermody is a journalism freshman.

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