Blood donation needs more participation

By Kelsey Kastrava
November 8, 2010

Less than 50 students out of the 1,500 undergraduates at Cabrini donated blood this month. Why is it that a deed, deemed by many as a selfless and positive act, is so under-recognized at this school?

Do students shy away because they are intimidated by the procedure? Or is it that people don’t find donating blood a priority in their daily lives? Does the fact that sexually active gay men that are unable to donate leave out a significant percentage of the population that could be contributing?

According to the American Red Cross, only three out of 100 Americans donate blood and every minute, several blood transfusions take place. If we are in such dire need of one another’s blood, then why do so few people show up to save lives?

The  Loquitur believes most students aren’t interested in going through with the donation because they haven’t been personally affected by the gift of a blood donation.

Moreover, in a society where so few people offer their blood to save someone’s life, then why is the process to donate so complicated?

Of course it is understandable. We do not want to be transfusing infected blood into a sick person but certain regulations that prohibit people from donating are questionable.

The American Red Cross states on its website that if any gay man who has engaged in sexual intercourse since 1977, cannot donate blood.

“It’s important to understand that blood safety is a public health issue, not a social policy issue. The Red Cross is required by law to follow all Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines and recommendations for the blood industry, including the current deferral of men who have had sex with other men.”

All blood that is donated is checked for diseases before it can be used in a transfusion. The Red Cross believes the FDA rules should change to allow gay men to donate. It’s not fair that someone who wants to donate and feels confident in his health can’t donate because of an outbreak 30 years ago.

In addition, the low turnout by our student body seems to be caused by other reasons. Students should be made more aware of the importance of donating blood. We need more than flyers posted around campus to feel compelled to take a time out to get pricked with a needle.

We need to learn where our blood goes and the effect it has on those suffering from illnesses and accidents. It should not be assumed that everyone understands the process of donating. The Loquitur recommends that some of the required health and science courses contain a segment on the societal importance of donating.

“The need is constant. The gratification is instant” is the slogan on Red Cross website.  Consider that someone in need next time the blood drive comes to campus and hope for  a change that all healthy students are able to give the gift of life.

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Kelsey Kastrava

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