GRCC to Host Blood Drive to Ease Local Shortages

GRCC to Host Blood Drive to Ease Local Shortages

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By Rachael Ocampo

ARC_Logo_Bttn_HorizStkd_RGB red crossGet ready to roll up a sleeve and save lives! Grand Rapids Community College will host a blood drive this Wednesday.

The blood drive, hosted by the American Red Cross, will take place in the multipurpose room in the Student Center, 2nd floor, from 12 – 5:45 p.m. Although it is run on an appointment-first basis, walk-ins will be accepted as long as there are openings available.

 According to Red Cross representative Ashley Minor, there is an “urgent need” for blood on a national and local level. Minor said over 200 blood drives were canceled nation-wide within the past month, mostly due to inclement weather and unsafe driving conditions. The result was “a shortfall of nearly 8,400 blood and platelet donations.”

Each volunteer can safely donate one pint of blood, which is referred to as a unit. The goal for this blood drive is 31 units, but they could gladly accept up to 40. All types of healthy blood are accepted according to Minor, but O types are most beneficial since they can be given to hospital patients of any blood type.

“We had a great turnout the last time we were here. We collected, I think, 35 units (of blood) on our goal of 31,” Minor said. She hopes for a similar success this time.

If you’ve never given blood before there are several things first-time donors need to know.

First, donors must be healthy, at least 17 years of age, and weigh at least 110 lbs. They also need to bring their photo IDs.

Secondly, they should expect the process to take time even with an appointment. Successful donation should take a little over an hour, depending on how much one-on-one interaction is needed. It helps if donors come prepared with a list of medications they are on or recent countries they have traveled to, as these could result in deferral.

There are several reasons donors could be deferred, or turned away, from giving blood. Some of these reasons include physical illness the day of donation, getting a new tattoo, or pregnant or nursing women. A complete list of reasons for deferral can be looked up online at redcrossblood.org.

Lastly, Minor always advises taking proper precautions for physical fitness. Drink plenty of water 2-3 days before and the morning of the appointment. Make sure to eat a meal high in protein and iron the night before and get a full night’s sleep.

Following these guidelines should help donors recover faster and feel better after leaving, Minor said. It never hurts to take advantage of the free cookies and juice afterward, either.

For more information or to set up an appointment, students can visit the Red Cross website at redcrossblood.org and type in sponsor code “GRCC”, or call at 800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767).

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