Students look back on campus blood drive

“People should donate blood because it saves lives,” said Donor Services Technician Nicole Young. “It can’t be manufactured. It can’t be duplicated, it has to come from a human. There’s no other way to get it.”

On Wednesday, Jan. 16, the Community Blood Center of the Carolinas set up a mobile blood drive in the Guilford College Community Center, which offered students the opportunity to donate blood to local lives in need. These mobile drives travel to places of worship, workplaces and schools to collect blood for hospitals throughout the Greensboro community.

“Every day is a new journey,” said Donor Services Phlebotomist Carlie Berry. “Our team travels all over North Carolina to places like Charlotte, Concord, Gastonia, Hickory and Greensboro.”

There is a need for healthy blood of all types for people faced with blood diseases, recovering from severe trauma or having complex surgical procedures.

“Donating blood is so critical right now that we accept everything,” said Donor Services Team Supervisor Hilda Ramos. “Since blood can only be stored for a limited time, a constant source is always needed. O–, O+, A– and B– are definitely the most valuable though.”

Anyone 16 years old or older can donate blood, and while all blood is greatly appreciated, the safety of the donors and the patients is always the number-one priority. Therefore, the CBCC conducts an interview and a few physical tests prior to collection to make sure the donor’s blood is suitable for other patients.

“Once you register, I ask (donors) a series of 48 questions about (their) history and personal life just to see if (they) qualify to get (their) blood drawn,” said Young. “Then I do the physical portion where I see if (their) body is in a state where (they) can donate. Basic criteria like if blood pressure, hemoglobin and temperature are within range.”

A phlebotomist then collects one pint of blood, as instructed by the FDA regulation system, and people are recommended to wait 56 days or eight weeks to donate again.

After collection, the blood is then transferred to the CBCC lab in Charlotte, where machines perform tests and separate it into their three main components: red cells, platelets and plasma, which can each help patients with different conditions.

“You’re saving lives,” Ramos said. “Not just one life, but one whole pint can save three lives. We also do specialized blood donation like platelets and double red cell which can help people with certain needs. Platelets help your blood clot and can be used for cancer treatments and surgery and double red cells can help with blood disorders, trauma and surgery.”

Many people at the blood drive were first-time donors.

“One of my friends asked me if I wanted to donate blood while I was in Founders and I thought it was a great idea,” said sophomore John Ellis. “I would’ve done it earlier, but I had recently gotten a new tattoo that prevented me from donating.”

Others at the blood drive were veterans of the process and were excited that Guilford was hosting their own blood drive for the community. Junior Anthony Batchler shared some of his experiences with donating in the past.

“I have donated blood a handful of times for Red Cross back at home and at my high school a couple times, but this is my first time donating at Guilford,” Batchler said.

The blood drive staff also took the time to share what donating blood meant to them.

“I donate blood all the time,” Berry said. “It’s my therapy and it’s really good for you. They say that when you donate your one pint, your body regenerates a new pint which means you’re getting new fresh blood.”

Many organizers and staff at the blood drive also encouraged members of the community to donate blood whenever they are able to do so.

“Blood is something you can always give and people will always need,” Batchler said. “And that’s why I think everyone should try to donate as much as they can.”