“Please Give Blood.” That is the simple, yet direct, slogan of the Red Cross. Blood is arguably one of the highest demanded products in the world at any given time. In order to meet this demand, the Red Cross holds three blood drives a year here at Fairfield University. This week, they will be operating out of the Oak Room in the Barone Campus Center on Tuesday, Feb. 20 and Wednesday, Feb. 21 from 11 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
According to Pat Pattonelli, the Collections Team Supervisor who has been with the Red Cross for 16 years, the organization hopes to collect 45-50 pints of blood from any one of their drives. In order to achieve this goal, they must have somewhere around 75 donors total. “By donating one pint of blood, you could be responsible for saving up to three lives,” exclaimed Pattonelli when speaking on the importance of donors to the organization’s overall success.
Pattonelli explained that every pint of blood has three uses: red blood cells, plasma and platelets. Since red blood cells have the highest demand, they are most frequently used within four days of the donation, and commonly needed in the trauma units of hospitals. Platelets are usually provided to cancer patients, as chemotherapy makes it difficult for their blood to coagulate without them. Lastly, the plasma found in blood is crucial to the healing process for many trauma victims and can be commonly found in burn wards.
However, donating blood is not something that just anyone can do. According to the Red Cross donor information packet, a questionnaire and physical examination are mandatory, and the donor must be at least 18 years of age and a minimum of 110 pounds. Anybody who fails to meet any one of these requirements will be deemed ineligible to donate.
Both Fairfield students and Fairfield residents could be found waiting to give blood after passing their examinations. “I began donating blood when my husband’s father was sick and needed it. Since then I’ve just been donating as much as I can. It changes things when you personally know someone who needs it,” commented Fairfield resident Chelsea Marshall.
Others who were there had heard about the drive through the school and felt compelled to help out. “I saw the email and just felt it was important to donate,” said Kat Valente ‘21.
Fairfield University always looks for their students to apply their motto, “men and women for others,” in their daily lives. Those at the drive who gave an hour of their time to help those in need truly embody this statement.