By Dominic Gwinn
On Thursday, February 2, Roosevelt held its annual blood drive. Sponsored by the Center for Student Involvement, the blood drive served as a part of Community Service Week, a week long event that encouraged Roosevelt students, faculty and staff to become involved in the greater community.
Despite an initially slow turn out, the event was seen as a success according to Keela Gray, the South Region Collections Supervisor for LifeSource, a Chicago area blood collection agency, who worked in conjunction with Roosevelt to facilitate the blood drive.
“It started off a little slow but it’s starting to pick up now,” said Gray. “It’s great, a lot of students had classes earlier this morning; when classes ended we saw a pick up in the traffic of donor flow.”
Participants ranged from regular donors to “first timers,” according to Gray, and included numerous students and staff.
“I’ve never done it before,” said 18 year-old Isabelle Street, a freshman Biology major after donating for the first time. “Every single time in highschool I’d chicken out. I said, ‘I need to do this.’ I’m trying to do more good than bad this year.”
Despite the willingness of many donors, Gray says that nurses are trained to make sure that patients are not only willing, but healthy enough to donate.
“For our first time donors that are a little bit nervous we talk to them, walk them through the process,” said Gray. “Give them a chance to ask any questions that they may have. We try to soothe their anxiety in any way that we can. So, if it’s telling a joke, making them laugh, whatever it takes to make the donor comfortable.”
Twenty year-old Carl Cannon, a Junior majoring in Mechanical Engineering, has been donating blood for several years since graduating high school. Cannon, who donating a double count of whole blood, explained how his first experience convinced him to become a regular donor.
“They said I was O+,” said Cannon, squeezing a small red ball while a large machine hummed next to him. “I’m not going to be able to donate for a month or two, but it helps get to people faster, so I figured why not?”
Other students, like Alex Hanley, a Senior majoring in Psychology, and Madleen Naser, a 20 year-old Criminal Justice major, stressed the importance of donating, and offered some advice for prospective donors.
“I think it’s fun to think about how many people the blood impacts,” said Hanley as she relaxed at the small cantina eating some snacks after her donation. “Literally just breathing through it and relaxing when it happens makes it a lot more bearable.”
“I think everyone should,” said Naser. “Everyone who’s eligible to give blood should because you can save lives. You feel dizzy, but great after.”