Blood drive pushes for help

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Finance sophmores Ashley Davison and Matt Johnson give blood during the Sigma Phi Epsilon blood drive for West families Monday afternoon. More than 30 people signed up to help bring relief to the victims of the fertilizer plant explosion on April 17.

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

Participants can save three lives in ten minutes by donating their blood in the annual Texas Alpha Phi Omega Fall Blood Drive this week. 

The drive is being held now through Friday in the Student Activities Center from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and outside of the Student Services Building from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sylvia Johnson, MD Anderson blood donor technician, said there is a high demand for blood at MD Anderson’s cancer hospital because cancer patients lose platelets from chemotherapy.

“We need everyone to come out,” Johnson said. “All ethnicities … women and men, so that we have a good mix so that we can save people’s lives.”

The saying is you save three lives because the blood is separated into three components: red blood cells, platelets and plasma, Johnson said. However, they need more donations.

“We don’t even collect the amount of blood that we need to give to all of the people that need the blood,” Johnson said. “By tomorrow, this blood will be ready to give to someone. It’s that quick. We need it that quick.”

The process for students donating blood doesn’t take long, as they only need to get their iron levels checked and answer a questionnaire, Johnson said. 

Biomedical engineer freshman Shruti Kumar was not able to give blood because of her answer to a question on the questionnaire.

“They asked me if I had been outside of the country in the past year,” Kumar said. “They didn’t let me donate because I had been to India, which is a high malaria zone.”

Biochemistry senior Phuong-Nam Mai said she comes out every year because she feels it is how she can give back.

“It’s not hard to do it, and it helps so many people at the same time, and blood is something that you already have,” Mai said. “There is nothing extra you have to do. You just have to sit down for maybe ten minutes, and it helps three people.”

While Johnson said it’s heartbreaking to see all the kids and cancer patients in the hospital, it is rewarding to see the good Md Anderson nurses do and how they help people with the donations.

“To know that you’re impacting someone’s life in that matter, and you go there and see all of your hard work that’s going to keep someone alive, even a day longer, that’s a good feeling,” Johnson said.