Lives enriched by pints of blood

Martha I. Fernandez, Editor in Chief

Whether it is an earthquake that rocks civilization from its foundations, a car accident that scars a family forever or a disease that plagues an individual, there is one statement that usually rings true in all devastations. When there is a crisis, there is always a need for help.

Most do not make the time to volunteer and help their fellow human beings. Many do not have enough resources for themselves, let alone an abundance to offer to their neighbor. But everyone has something that is vital in helping the next person in a time of crisis—blood.

Ginger Morris, Red Cross field representative for the San Gabriel Valley, describes the current blood supply as “barely above board.” And it is no wonder why.

According to the Red Cross, only three to four percent of the population of Los Angeles and Orange counties donate blood.

Blood is an asset everyone has and most can give to someone else. Despite the importance of donating blood, many people have not experienced the self-satisfaction of donating.

According to the American Association of Blood Banks, virtually all of the nation’s blood supply is donated by volunteers. The blood is used by the 4 million Americans who need blood transfusions each year.

Regardless of the goodwill involved and the necessity of blood donations, people are still hesitant to offer the gift of life to accident and disease victims.

According to past records, the University of La Verne had its lowest turnout ever at this spring’s blood drive. Maureen Pray, licensed vocational nurse at the University Health Center, said roughly 40 people signed up to donate blood, but only 25 were generous enough to do so at the March 5 drive on campus.

One would think that with the significant growth in population at ULV, there would also be an increase in blood donors.

It is unfortunate that out of the growing University community, only these select few took the time to spend the average one hour and 15 minutes to draw some blood for those in need.

There is no doubt that there are more than 25 people on campus who meet the requirements to donate blood. The great majority of the University population is over 17 years old, weighs at least 110 pounds and is in good health. Yet the unwillingness to make the time, and lack of education about blood drives, seem to take precedence over saving lives.

People should think twice before creating an excuse to not donate blood. Fear of needles and feeling faint need to be overshadowed by the fact that, according to the Red Cross, someone needs blood every 12 seconds.

Those who have not taken the opportunity to donate blood are unaware of the simple and not too time consuming procedure.

The American Association of Blood Banks describes the standard procedure as donors being asked to fill out a medical questionnaire and read literature about blood donations. Then, a small amount of blood is taken from a prick on the finger or ear lobe to be tested for red cells and hemoglobin before the pint of blood is withdrawn from the body with a sterile, disposable needle and bag. Juice and cookies are then provided in a rest area for donors. Donors are asked to drink plenty of liquids and be careful when carrying heavy objects for the next 24 hours.

Despite the simple procedure and the public service announcements asking people to give the gift of life, many are still indifferent to the cause.

Morris has sent out a plea to the students and faculty of La Verne to help her motivate the campus for the blood drives. Hopefully, ULV will respond to her challenge and take an active role in helping their fellow human beings.

Not too often in life are people asked to be heroes. However, when the opportunity arises, one would hope many more people would make the effort to give others the opportunity to celebrate life.

Martha I. Fernandez

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