On March 30, Marian’s Student Board hosted its annual blood drive with the American Red Cross. Needles, tubes, blood bags, and a whole lot of eager Marian girls filled the West Gym in anticipation to save lives.
The blood drive was a huge success. According to Ellie Wagner, a representative from the American Red Cross, 65 pints of whole blood were collected. This blood could potentially save up to 195 lives. Along with this, there were 48 first time donors and two double red donors.
Marian girls donated blood because they want to help people and make a difference. It may have caused them to pass out on their way to class or their vision go blurry during a big test, but saving the lives of others was what mattered most for these girls.
Junior Lucy Fishburn is one of the 48 brave souls who faced the needle for her first time this year. “I finally decided to give blood this year because I wanted to help save lives, and I figured that this would be a really easy way to do it. All of my friends planned on donating, so I decided I would join in,” Fishburn said.
As is turns out, donating blood really isn’t that terrifying. “I was obviously super nervous beforehand, but everything was totally fine. I have a very low pain tolerance, but it didn’t even hurt…it was just a little strange to have something inside of my arm for so long,” Fishburn said.
On the other hand, though, the blood drive left a handful of girls frustrated this year. At least 20 people tried to give blood, but later found out that they were not eligible to do.
Junior Ellie Rommelfanger gave blood last year, but she thought that since she traveled to the Dominican Republic in June, she was not eligible to do so again this year. “A representative from the Red Cross calls me all of the time to talk to me about giving blood, but I told her she didn’t have to bother calling me again because I went to the DR in the summer, and I know malaria is prominent there. She ended up telling me that I was fine to give blood if it has been more than a month since I was traveled there, so I signed up to donate this year. When I checked in, I double checked with the lady at the table to make sure I was okay to donate; she said yes. Then I waited for about 25 minutes and had my finger pricked, all for the nurse to finally be the one to tell me that I was not able to give blood this year because I went to the DR,” Rommelfanger said.
Aside from travel, a couple other common reasons for deferral from donating were low hemoglobin levels and the presence of cold or flu like symptoms in potential donors. To make sure that you are in the clear to donate, visit redcrossblood.org or call the eligibility specialist at 1-866-236-3276.
“It was really frustrating that two people told me I was okay to donate, but then the one said no,” Rommelfanger said.
Vanessa, a donor client support specialist at the Red Cross, apologizes for the frustration and applauds the efforts of students like Rommelfanger, but it is better safe than sorry when it comes to questions regarding donor eligibility.
For the most part, though, the blood drive left Marian girls feeling brave, accomplished, and maybe just a little bit nauseous. For many, giving blood was a simple and easy was to help save lives.