The Lincoln Room was buzzing with students waiting for their turn to donate blood and Red Cross workers bouncing between those registering to donate and those in the process of donating. When all was said and done, the Knox community had donated 39 units of blood, enough to save 117 lives according to Janet Jarvis, an account manager with the Red Cross.
Red Cross Blood Drives are organized once a term by Alpha Phi Omega (APO), a co-ed service fraternity. Aleksandra Gicala, senior, serves as the chair of the blood drive. She works with APO and Jarvis to coordinate dates and times for blood drives.
Outside of advertising the event, reserving the room and helping to choose dates, the Red Cross does most of the work, bringing in all the supplies and staff necessary for the drive. While students have a chance to sign up for appointments beforehand, most of the students who donate blood are walk-in appointments.
As students file into the room, they stop at a table just inside the door. They tell a volunteer from APO their name and whether or not they have an appointment. The volunteer scans student IDs and sends students to wait for Red Cross staff to be ready for them. At times, all of the seats in the small waiting area are full of students, eager to do their part.
Before students can donate, they undergo a quick “mini physical.” Their temperature is taken, iron levels and blood pressure checked and they answer some questions about themselves. Finally, if everything checks out, students are taken to a stretcher to donate their blood.
Now, the blood will be tested, separated into its different components and shipped to hospitals upon request. As blood is tested, separated and sent off, students will receive emails and letters from the Red Cross letting them know their blood type and any other important information they may need to know.
Jarvis and Gicala agree that the blood drives are successful events. Jarvis said Knox blood drives are always “reliable and busy” and encourages students to read about the process their blood is going through as it is processed and sent to hospitals.
“The American Red Cross greatly appreciates Knox College and their donors for their dedication in assisting us in saving lives,” Jarvis said.