The Office of Community Service sponsored a blood drive held Wednesday at the Inn of Middletown and attracted 68 participants.
“It’s one of the only things you do that’s almost guaranteed to help people,” said Nathan Baumgart ’06, among the first in line to donate.
Students were driven from campus to the Inn on Main Street, where the drive was held. Students who couldn’t donate blood still found an opportunity to help by volunteering as staff for the drive, either in the reception table or by providing post-donation refreshments.
Inside the Inn, Red Cross employees were busy walking students through pre-donation procedures, including a test for iron, a blood pressure check, and an extensive medical history. Across the room, other employees hovered around students lying on four beds, monitoring the physical blood donation process.
After their donations, students sat around the table of refreshments sharing stories about their experiences giving blood. One volunteer, Alexandra Loh ’06, has given blood six times at every drive Wesleyan has had since she’s been here.
Organizers were pleased with the turnout, especially for an off-campus event, but stressed the importance of continuing donations.
“The blood situation in Connecticut is pretty desperate right now,” said Leigh Senderowicz ’07, one of the student organizers. “Anyone who’s healthy really should come out and donate.”
According to the American Red Cross, another person needs blood about every two seconds. In the winter months, the number of donations decreases. To compensate for this loss, doctors may separate the blood to make each donation last as long as possible.
When a person comes in to donate, they give approximately a pint of whole blood. This can then be used in treatment or, more often, separated into components. From a single donor’s blood, the red blood cells may go to an accident victim, the platelets to a cancer patient, and the plasma to the recipient of open-heart surgery.
Holding the drive in Middletown instead of at 200 Church Street, as they did last semester, meant fewer walk-ins. This time around, most students made appointments in advance.
The blood drive committee has planned its next drive for April 20 and 21. According to Senderowicz, they are looking to hold it on campus, possibly in a fraternity house. Anyone interested in donating or volunteering with the drive can e-mail WesleyanBloodDrive@yahoo.com.