Wednesday, October 18 – A blood drive hosted by Volunteer Oxford’s Health Sector in cooperation with the Red Cross was held in Rathskeller Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event was a marked success, with 44 prescheduled appointments and more than 50 people in attendance. The drive collected 34 pints of blood total.
Many students, such as sophomore and Health Sector Project Coordinator Geeta Acharya, donated blood because of a personal wish is help others.
“I want to give blood because we are helping people immediately,” Acharya said. “It is something that directly goes to a person in need and as it says in the poster, one pint of blood helps three people. This is way more impactful than we can even imagine.”
Megan Pitts, and experienced donor and first year student at Oxford donates for a similar reason.
“I really like the healthcare industry and feeling like a helped other people,” Pitts said.
First time donor and sophomore Annalise Miller was inspired by the recent train of hurricanes, tropical storms, and the Las Vegas shooting.
“With all the different events that have been happening there is just a really big need for it and it’s just such a simple way to help out in a big way,” Miller said.
Oxford students were not the only donors. It was estimated earlier in the day that 10 to 15 people with no affiliation to Oxford were scheduled to donate blood. The drive drew people from the all over the surrounding area, such as Melanie Sheets of Porterdale, GA. A regular donor for four or five years, Sheets heard of the event through the American Red Cross App.
“I try to donate blood every six to eight weeks just to give back,” Sheets said.
The blood drive was headed by Acharya and Health Sector Junior Project Coordinator Jay Talati, as well as volunteers working in shifts throughout the day. Conflicts the event faced was the inconvenient timing, as 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. is a period of the day frequently taken up with classes. This means many people who wish to donate blood are unable to do so.
“Next semester we are trying to resolve that issue by trying to move the timing of the blood drive from being entirely in the afternoon to the late afternoon and evening, so more students can come and donate blood because that’s when most students are free,” Acharya said.
Some students who wished to give blood were unable to because of health policies. International students may not donate blood unless they have lived in the U.S. for at least 12 months, which has came as a disappointment to many seeking to give blood
“People came to me asking if they could donate and I had to say no because they were an international student,” Acharya said.
Others may have been turned away due to low blood pressure or other stipulations such as medications or weight. Approximately 20 people, included in the previously mentioned 50, were not allowed to give blood on the basis of medical reasons.
The date and location of the next blood drive is currently underdetermined, but one will be taking place next semester.