On Wednesday, January 29, the Cone Ballroom of the Elliot University Center was set aside for the American Heart Association. Students and staff were encouraged to participate in the event and donate blood.
“Donating blood is always a great way [to help],” said Ashley Wiley, a student volunteer at the event. “Especially because some people don’t realize that you don’t just save one life [when you donate blood], you can save many, especially for people who have rare blood diseases.”
Wiley encouraged students who had reservations to reconsider blood donation and to do their own research with search engines about the process. Wiley also recommended that apprehensive donors visit the American Red Cross’s website to learn more about blood donation.
Wiley volunteered at the check-in desk. Her job was to help donors check into their appointments and answer any questions donors might have, such as how much blood would need to be donated.
“It does vary depending on their blood type; if they’re O-positive, their blood is handled differently,” Wiley said.
There are regulations on who can and cannot donate blood. According to Wiley, if a donor is under eighteen and is male, he must be taller than five feet, and if the donor is female and under eighteen she must be taller than five feet and six inches. Minors must also weigh at least 110 pounds. If a donor is over eighteen, they must be over five feet and five inches and weigh at least 110 pounds.
Donors should also not donate if they have a cold and should inform the volunteers at the blood bank about medications and antibiotics being taken so that the blood can be processed with the proper procedure. However, Wiley reminds students and staff that there are no restrictions based off of diet.
“You can eat junk food and still donate blood,” Wiley said. “I feel like a lot of college students don’t want to donate their blood because of their eating habits, but it’s fine, [the blood bank] will make sure to process it properly.”
Wiley herself has donated blood on prior occasions and encourages others to do so.
“It’s always great to give back,” Wiley said. “You’ll get that blood and platelets back, so you can give it away.”
This sentiment was shared by student and donor Karee Becker.
“I think people should recognize that they should donate because there will come a time when they will be in need,” Becker said. “I have universal donor blood, so I donate because it can go to anyone.”