The American Red Cross has reported a 10% decline in blood donations since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which recently had its third anniversary.
Due to health mandates and restrictions, high school and college blood drives dropped by about 65%. America is facing a nationwide blood shortage, according to the Red Cross. The shortages have forced doctors to choose which patients receive blood transfusions first.
The Health Science Club (HSC) at Shippensburg University normally hosts the blood drives on campus, club President Jacob Kornilow said. Although they have had trouble organizing drives during the pandemic, they were able to host the blood drive in the Ceddia Union Building last Tuesday, Feb. 15.
The Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank (CPBB) supplies blood for areas in south central PA., within a 90-mile radius of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania. Michelle Basom, the leader of the Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank drive, shared that they very rarely transport blood out of state. However, they did assist during the aftermath of the Oxford High shooting in Michigan last November, she explained.
She encourages more students to attend future blood drives and donate. “You never know who will need it. It could be a stranger, a neighbor or a relative,” Basom said.
Luke Parker, an SU sophomore, donated blood on Monday. “My dad was in an accident a while ago. He spent a lot of time in the hospital, and it was so hard to see him go through that,” Parker said. “Because of that, I want to help others any time I can.”
Parker encourages his peers to donate if they are able. Blood donation is a selfless act, and one that is much easier to do than most people think.
After running a few tests to make sure the blood is healthy, the blood drive staff members are there to guide every step of the way. Afterward, they supplied donors with some snacks to stabilize their blood sugar. The CPBB also gave out T-shirts to donors.
“This is the first drive we’ve had this semester,” said Kornilow. “We had one last semester, and we are looking to do another later this semester.”
The drive collected 26 pints of blood, which equates to about 78 lives saved. There will be another blood drive toward the end of March. Next time the blood bank comes rolling into SU, take an hour or two out of the day to possibly save someone’s life with a donation.