There is a constant need for blood throughout the world. In the United States, the American Red Cross provides approximately 40% of the country’s blood and blood products. Blood drives and donors play an essential role in providing lifesaving blood to those who need it most. Recently, the American Red Cross held a blood drive open to the public on Bloomsburg University’s campus in the Kehr Union Ballroom.
The blood drive was filled with blood donors and volunteers, mostly students at Bloomsburg University, looking to give back to their community. Bryce Shaffer, age 22, and Graduate Assistant at Bloomsburg University, just completed his fourth donation. Shaffer’s mother and brothers donated frequently throughout Shaffer’s youth, which is why he figured it was about time he began donating blood as well. He says, “It feels good to give back in some way.”
Typically, donating one unit of whole blood is the average, whereas a double red cell donation is less likely. Why? Probably, because most donors are not properly educated as to what double red cell donation is, and its’ critical importance.
Double red cell donation is exactly what the name refers to: donating two units of red blood cells instead of one. Double red cell donation is similar to whole blood donations, except that whole blood donations contain red blood cells, platelets, plasma, and white blood cells. Double red cell donations only collect red blood cells. During a double red cell donation, a special machine is used to allow you to safely donate the two units of red blood cells during one donation while returning your plasma and platelets, and other blood components. It is as safe as a whole blood donation.
Red blood cells are the most frequently used blood component. Just about every patient in need of a life-saving blood transfusion, e.g. cancer patients, accident victims, and even children with blood disorders, require red blood cells. It is evident as to how important red blood cells are to survival.
Full-time student, Kyle Savitski, age 23, recognizes the importance of double red cell donations. In fact, when Savitski donates blood, he primarily donates double red cells. Savitski has donated about 20 units of blood; that means he has donated blood 20 different times! Savitski says, “I do it because I’m an avid donor,” and, “it’s a positive thing.”
BU's Red Cross Club was in attendance during the blood drive. Club President Paige Kavanaugh, age 20, says that they participate in community volunteer services like BU's Big Event, Relay for Life and Red Cross related activities. Mostly, the Red Cross Club focuses on the set-up of recruitment tables during blood drives. Kavanaugh has donated blood nine times and first started donating while still in high school. For additional information on the Bloomsburg University’s Red Cross Club, visit their official Facebook page.
If you would like to make an appointment to donate blood in your area, please call 1-800-REDCROSS or log onto redcrossblood.org. Every 2 seconds, someone in the U.S. is in need of blood. You can help make a difference and save a life.