Sacramento State hosts first blood drive of semester

Natasha Dodson

With one pint of blood possibly saving up to three lives, Sacramento State blood drive volunteers are working to register as many donors as possible for the first two-day event of the semester that started Tuesday.

“Participation has increased from previous years because we’re working hard on getting the word out.” said Associated Students Inc., Blood Drive Coordinator Robert Ceasar. “Our marketing team is handing out flyers a month in advance.”

Its goal this year is to get as many registered online to donate as part of the National Cesar Chavez Blood Drive Challenge, which celebrates Chavez’s legacy by engaging students to promote health education, health and science professions and civic engagement.

Last year Sac State competed with UC Davis to get as many donors registered and was awarded a trophy for a total of 1,758 registrants.

After blood is donated, the bags and test tubes are labeled and stored in iced coolers until transported to hospitals where lives are saved every day.

Pre-nursing major and event organizer Felicia Vasquez explained the qualifications of becoming a donor as well as the need for donors.

“A car crash victim can need 100 pints of human blood,” Vasquez said. “Blood is a natural resource and cannot be manufactured through man-made procedures.”

All donors have to be at least 16 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, have no new tattoos within the last year and piercings that are not performed in sterile environments, must be a year old. Returning donors have to wait 56 days before donating again.

Vasquez added donors can also join the marrow registry, as several Sac State students have already done. Once a sample is taken, a student can be added to the registry for a possible match.

Junior psychology major Michelle Juneau said she will not be donating this year because of the tattoo restrictions and her low iron level, but she knows the importance of donating blood because it has saved her life before.

“When in the military, I had some blood loss and needed a transfusion back in 2008,” Juneau said. “I had one bag transfused and it saved my life.”

Senior communications studies major Kierra Hamilton Flora said while she has never donated, she is interested in doing so despite complications while living in Germany.

“I tried to donate in 2007, but because I lived in Germany during 1995-96, I was turned away as a precaution,” Flora said. “There are silent carriers of the mad cow disease that can’t be detected through blood and as a safety measure, I am excluded.”

Ceasar, who is responsible for booking the room for the event and ensuring parking passes for doctors and securing investors, said most people do not donate out of fear, but have a lack of knowledge about how many lives could be saved. He said he has an obligation to recruit more donors and volunteers with marketing and handouts.

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion.

With a shelf life of 42 days, volunteers collected over 1,000 pints of blood at the Causeway Classics last October, an annual college football game between Sacramento State and UC Davis.

“There are incentives (for donating) like getting credit from teachers,” Ceasar said. “There are various volunteer positions available and stations where they can offer help.”

The blood drive is being held at the University Union Ballroom and anyone can come in to donate on a walk-in basis from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is advised students eat, drink plenty of fluids and bring a photo ID.