Fall blood drive draws 200 volunteers

Kameron Schmid and Kameron Schmid

Once a semester, BloodSource visits American River College asking for blood donations from those with two hours to spare, offering t-shirts and snacks in recompense. This time around, students were glad to give a pint. Over 250 donations were made on Oct. 15th and 16th, surpassing the goal of 200 set by BloodSource.

Three buses were stationed in staff parking near the stadium with about ten workers on each van, and a long line of students remained steady throughout the day.

When asked why they signed up, most of the waiting donors had the same reply of wanting to help those who need it.

“It’s just a good thing to do, and it helps people. Every pint of blood counts,” said Burak Kocal, aerospace engineering major.

In fact, the long wait was mostly because of the large turnout, according to Rebecca Douglas, the student director for BloodSource at ARC, who also works at the health center on campus.

“Most people who came when there was a line had a wait of about an hour, and then it takes about 45 minutes on the bus. It’s a good while, but it’s worth it,” said Douglas.

BloodSource was also registering certain people for bone marrow drawings, a much harder process. Those who signed up had saliva samples of their DNA taken, and would be called if they matched with someone in need.

Kocal was one such volunteer. “(To draw the bone marrow) they put you under anesthesia, and your arm is stiff and sore for a few days. But it’s extremely important, so I’m willing to do it.”

Bone marrow has been successfully transplanted to help with diseases such as leukemia, lymphomas, aplastic anemia, immune deficiency disorders, and some solid tumor cancers. And according to a report by ABC News,  just this summer, two HIV-positive men received bone marrow transplants, and no longer have any detectable strains of the virus in their blood following the procedure.

But only one in 540 people who sign up actually go on to match with a patient in need, increasing the need for volunteers.

For those who missed out on opportunities to donate, BloodSource has three donation centers within 15 miles of ARC, in Fair Oaks, Sacramento, and Folsom. Visit bloodsource.org for more information.