Southeast Missouri State University student publication

American Red Cross raises goal for Greek Week blood drive

Monday, February 26, 2018
Graphic by Taria Graham

The American Red Cross partners annually with the Interfraternity Council and National Panhellenic Conference at Southeast Missouri State University for a blood drive with the goal of collecting 1,130 units of blood.

The American Red Cross has been forced to cancel more than 550 Red Cross blood drives due to winter weather and the active flu season, causing over 16,000 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected in January, according to the American Red Cross.

Michelle Johnson, donor recruitment representative with the American Red Cross, said donor numbers reached 872 units of blood in 2016 and 946 units of blood in 2017 for the same event. Raising the goal for 2018, the American Red Cross has hired more staff to accommodate the anticipated increase.

The blood drive is the largest single site location in the region, Johnson said.

Once the blood is drawn, the American Red Cross will have it picked up twice each day during the four-day blood drive, then it’s to be sent to the national testing lab in St. Louis, for typing and testing.

“They’ll fill orders for hospitals. Typically it’ll start in the hospitals in our area and then go out from there,” said Johnson.

Sophomore Trinity Shy said her sorority, Delta Delta Delta, has a goal to get all 130 members to donate or find someone to take their place.

“I donate because someone donated for me to save my life, so I want to donate for someone else to save their life,” said Shy, who said she was in a serious car accident while in fifth grade.

Only 3 percent of the population will donate blood, according to the American Red Cross.

Greek life contributes to the event by volunteering to set up and take down equipment and providing support to the staff working.

“The students actually take control of the drive, they recruit for it, make sure that there’s volunteers, find food donations, they make sure that people come,” Johnson said.

The Greek organizations on campus have pushed making an appointment to minimize the wait for donors.

Johnson said the needle portion only takes 5 to 10 minutes.

“Think about how it could save other people and that they really are contributing to help others,” said Shy, who said up to three lives can be saved with a single donation.

Donors are required to be at least 18 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health, according to the American Red Cross.

All presenting donors will be entered in a drawing to win an Apple Watch, Fitbit and gift cards. Donors will receive a T-shirt while supplies last. The Greek Week blood drive will be held Feb. 25 to 28 at the Student Rec Center in the east gym. Donation hours will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.