American Red Cross Blood Drive begins, is tradition for some donors

Professor of music Alfred Cochran (left), Nathan McKinney, junior in human resource management, and Tyriq Herbin, freshman in psychology, donate blood in the K-State Student Union Ballroom Monday afternoon. Herbin said as a first time the experience wasn't bad, just something different.

Students and other community members gathered yesterday to kick off the first day of the American Red Cross Blood Drive. All donors receive a free t-shirt, while supplies last, and are entered to win an invitation from football head coach Bill Snyder to attend a K-State football practice.

Will Callis, graduate student in agricultural economics, said he’s been donating blood since he was 16 years old. Because of his young age he was required to have parental consent, however, this wasn’t a problem as donating blood has been a three-generation family tradition for Callis. Callis’ grandpa began the tradition when he first donated during World War II. Callis himself has donated around 20 times and said he will continue on with this family tradition.

“As soon as I turned 16, my mom took me to donate,” Callis said. “It is very important for my family to give back to the Red Cross.”

In addition to blood donors, the Red Cross also counts on many volunteers to help perform its mission. Bill Cool, a member of the Manhattan Kiwanis organization, has been volunteering for the past 10 years. Kiwanis helps set up the blood drive, take care of donors and instruct to other volunteers.

“It has been an amazing opportunity to volunteer for the Red Cross and to give back to the community,” Cool said. “The Red Cross performs so much good work throughout the world, I enjoy anytime I am able to help.”

Another blood drive volunteer is Danielle Genschorck, sophomore in criminology. Genschorck said she’s been involved in community service throughout her entire life.

“I have a best friend who had a blood transfusion as a baby,” Genschorck said. “Without these Red Cross blood drives, she would not be alive. It is important for me to volunteer for the Red Cross and contribute to many more lives being saved.”

According to Cari Merrill, communications manager for the Red Cross, the goal of this week’s blood drive is to draw in at least 700 pints of blood from donors. On Monday, they collected 153 pints of blood in the K-State Student Union and 62 pints in Putnam Hall, totaling 215 pints of blood collected on the first day.

“We are off to a great start,” Merrill said. “There was a great turn out this morning and are hoping keep our numbers high all week.”

Merill also pointed out that in the last 10 years, the Red Cross has held 166 blood drives and collected 12, 936 pints of blood at K-State. The Red Cross is the largest single supplier of blood and blood products in the U.S., collecting and processing more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply. The Red Cross distributes blood to about 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.

“College blood drives play an important part in helping to ensure an adequate blood supply for patients in need, as almost 20 percent of the millions of donations made each year come from high school and college blood drives,” Merrill said.

The blood drive will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Union until Thursday. Donors can also give blood in Putnam Hall from 2:30-8 p.m. until Wednesday. Although walk-ins are welcome, donors are encouraged to make an appointment at or 1-800-RED CROSS.