Being stuck with a needle and drained of blood may not sound like the most ideal afternoon, but that didn’t stop Salisbury University students from giving blood at SU’s annual blood drive.
In a record-setting event for the university, 86 people signed up for the drive and donated 77 units of blood, which is the best rate of participation SU has ever had, according to the blood bank’s statistics.
The blood drive was conducted through SU’s Student Wellness Program, and graduate student Jenna Haines was behind the planning of it.
Haines explained that the motivation behind the annual drive is to help the community and make it easy for people to donate since it’s right on campus.
“I think it’s a completely underutilized resource,” Haines said. “People don’t realize how fairly simple it is to donate and how much of a difference it can make for people.”
Delmarva Blood Bank services 19 hospitals in the Eastern Shore region, and it needs roughly 360 units of blood donated in the region every day to fulfill the needs of those hospitals.
Account manager for the Blood Bank of Delmarva Bryan Shepherd works with officials at the Guerrieri Student Union and different student groups to help set up the annual blood drive.
Shepherd highlighted that the blood bank tries its best to create a “fun environment that relaxes people” to try and combat the fear and reluctance that people may have. The event consisted of consultations with blood bank workers, along with music and a rest area where donors could go to get a snack and beverage following their donation.
“The number-one reason why people don’t donate is because they’re scared of the needle,” Shepherd said. “But if you’ve ever been stung by a bee or stubbed your toe really bad, that hurts a heck of a lot worse than donating blood.”
SU freshman Maranatha Haile squeezes a stress ball in the comfort of her friend and SU freshman Kendal Weber while phlebotomist Kate Keller prepares the needle and blood bags. Photo by Caroline Streett.
SU freshman and nursing major Vashti Johnson explained that though events like these — with blood and needles — can bring on anxiety and fear for most, she felt rather calm.
“I just watched a lot of medical shows when I was younger, so I always would see, you know, that they need blood, and they always run out,” Johnson said. “I figure I need to get used to blood if I want to be a nurse.”
Shepherd emphasized the many uses that blood donations go toward, the number-one reason being for cancer treatments, second being surgery, and then trauma and childbirth. He finds good reason in giving in the rationale that everyone is affected by a need for blood in some way or another.
“The thing is, everyone’s affected by a personal story of people they know — family members, friends — that have needed or will need blood in the future,” Shepherd said. “You know, one in three people in this country is affected by cancer … and like I said before, it’s the number-one reason why donated blood is needed.”
SU junior Parker Dewitt attended the blood drive strictly out of generosity.
“I figure someone else needs it more than I do,” DeWitt said. “It’s something simple, it doesn’t take long, and it could save someone’s life.”
By CAROLINE STREETT
Gull life editor
Featured photo: Caroline Streett image.