Although nearly two-hundred thousand lives were saved last year because of blood donation, blood donation services like American Red Cross and LifeServe are facing one of the most costly shortages in the last decade. Not only is the universal type O+/- in critically low supply, other more common types are dwindling in reserves.
“We need all types of blood – A, B, O and +/- blood,” Tori Buckler said, who is a nursing student. “And the only way you can learn what blood type you are is by donating.”
Unfortunately, people are often overcome with a fear of needles, passing out or other side effects like fatigue and nausea.
Despite these claims, the process takes an hour on average and is guided by compassionate, professional nurses. Plus, donors receive cookies and juice to offset the loss of blood afterward.
The purpose of blood donation is greater than material incentives and recognition; there is a world out there that many do not see—the impoverished, the sick and those who are victims of physical trauma. Those in a shelter of privilege often neglect those in need.
Statistically, blood donation is not normal, and that is something that must change. While Red Cross and LifeServe are encouraging people to donate and improving their centers’ incentives, the answer lies in empathy.
“Blood donation saves lives whether it’s family, friends, neighbors or people you will never know,” said Deb Sandbulte. NW’s director of human resources.
Sandbulte has been coordinating the blood drive since 2007 and is passionate about spreading the love. She encourages students to promote drives.
“Students often have more impact on the behavior and giving nature of their fellow students,” Sandbulte said.
Buckler’s future in nursing will allow her to witness the historically significant process of blood transfusions, so she has first-hand appreciation for the power of blood donation.
Similarly, sophomore psychology student, Ainsley Billings, has a simple message for her peers after donating at the Feb. 16 blood drive. From that drive, 42 units were collected, with seven of those being from first-time donors. This blood will save or sustain over 126 lives.
“It’s important,” Billings said. “The process was great! The nurses are so friendly, and they make it so easy.”
It is true; peer-to-peer connection works wonders. The inspiration for blood donation centers has grown because of far-away friendship, beginning with the attack on Pearl Harbor and transforming into 13 million pints of donated blood after World War II.
There is nothing more powerful than accountability in the form of compassion.
Indeed, this is the place where Christ lived and died. This is the place where holy blood was shed. This is the place where Christians must learn to give themselves away.
In the “almost” and “not quite,” where earth stands still in the glory of Christ’s service, Christians are presented with opportunities of worship— one of them being close to home, just a needle’s length away.
“We are all called to be the hands and feet of Christ in ways to which we are individually called,” Sandbulte said. “We can feed the spiritual souls of others, or we can fuel and heal the physical body which is what blood donation does.”
The next blood drive is scheduled for Wednesday, April 13.