Blood drive exceeds daily goal, continues until Friday

Caitlyn Massy | The Collegian Sean Reed, junior in architectural engineering, looks away from his arm while giving blood at K-State’s spring blood drive, hosted by the American Red Cross on Tuesday in Putnam Hall. Reed explained to the nurse that he was afraid of needles, which is why he didn’t look while he donated blood. The drive will continue through Friday in both the K-State Student Union and Putnam Hall.

Tuesday marked the first day of K-State’s spring blood drive hosted by the American Red Cross. According to Ron Gilmore, team supervisor, the American Red Cross has a four-day goal to receive 417 units of blood. By about 3 p.m. on Tuesday, the drive had received donations from 125 donors, exceeding their daily goal of 91.

Caroline Hood, who has been volunteering with the Red Cross for about 2 1/2 years, said donating blood is a lifesaving act — something she knows from experience.

“I am a living testimony of how the American Red Cross can save lives,” Hood said. “I’m a recipient of a blood transfusion. Somebody’s blood donation somewhere helped save my own life; without it, I wouldn’t be alive.”

Hood is very passionate about her job at the American Red Cross.

“It’s a very rewarding job,” she said. “I’ve worked the blood drive every year since I started at the Red Cross and I plan to keep participating.”

Hood advises donors to eat and drink lots of water before donating to minimize discomfort like lightheadedness, which is not unusual for blood donors.

Hood and other volunteers give donors comforting words and try to keep them positive throughout the process.

“I love to see new donors donate because they are our future,” Hood said. “Younger donors usually continue donating throughout their adult life, which is always a good thing because blood donations save lives.”

Refreshments are available at the blood drive such as crackers, doughnuts, water and orange juice for donors. Donors have the opportunity to receive prizes and gifts as well, and every donor receives a Texas Roadhouse coupon for free appetizers. Other prizes are available too, to show donors appreciation for their efforts.

Courtney Karst, freshman in industrial engineering, donated blood in high school and decided to continue her participation at K-State. Karst said she always donated blood when she had the chance.

“Saving a life, knowing that you are helping out is what motivates me to donate,” Karst said.

By noon on Tuesday, Gilmore said there were 61 participating donors. American Red Cross staff and volunteers donated blood as well, according to Gilmore.

“The American Red Cross is a great organization that’s been around forever,” Gilmore said. “I enjoy being in a field that helps.”

Grant Kerschen, senior in agribusiness, donated blood for the second time on Tuesday. He said he would donate again in the future because it is for a good cause.

“The first time I gave blood I didn’t have a good experience because they had to prick me twice and I got really lightheaded from donating a single dose,” Kerschen said. “Today I gave a double donation, which was a better experience because they separate your red blood cells from everything else and put fluid back in your body. I felt better afterwards even though I gave more blood.”

His first negative experience did not deter him, Kerschen said. He said he learned from his first try and found a better way to prepare his body, because donating blood and possibly saving someone is that important to him.

The blood drive ends Friday. To donate, go to the K-State Student Union Ballroom from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., today through Thursday. On Friday, students can donate from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Donors can also go to Putnam Hall, which has booths available Tuesday through Friday from 2:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Anyone 16 or older is encouraged to donate, and walk-ins are welcome.