The Mount hosted a biannual blood drive once again on Oct. 24 to make up for a missed day in September. While many Mount-goers could see their large medical truck parked outside of patriot, the Red Cross had set up for blood donations in O’Hara dining room. Around the station, I saw a lot of things that you could expect: paperwork, clipboards, bandages, stickers, and medical staff. What I didn’t expect, however, was all of the students!.
While many students made appointments well in advance, others were screened on site and waited patiently to donate. “It’s so great for us to come up here” one worker commented, “There is always such a great turn out and everybody just seems so eager to give what they can.” This is due in part to the deep pool of Mount students that chose to give blood whenever the Red Cross comes to campus.
I was fortunate enough to catch up with several of these brave donors and was pleasantly surprised at the wide range of stories behind their donations. As expected, many students were no rookies when it came to blood donation. Maria McIntyre, a junior, does her best to give whenever the Red Cross is on campus; “I’ve never really thought twice about giving blood, it’s an easy way for me to give back and I’ve been doing it since high school. It may sound cliché, but it could save somebody’s life.”
Aside from the seasoned veterans, many first time donors stepped forward to give what they could. I talked to several of these new volunteers in the line waiting to be drawn and talked for a few minutes to Antwan Smith, only a couple spots back in the queue. “I hadn’t ever really thought about giving until recently, but when I thought about it, I decided it didn’t make sense not to give blood. Who knows who could end up needing it down the road.” He later joked, “After all, it can’t be that bad.”
Not everyone is this brave however; giving blood can be a frightening prospect and many people are often turned away from donating out of this fear. I caught sophomore Jules Mastromatteo on her way out of the clinic, fresh from her first ever blood drive. “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little scared” she confessed, “in fact, my roommates pretty much dragged me there. We had all made a pact to give blood together but when the morning actually came, I started to get cold feet. I passed the screening and almost got up and left a few times while waiting in line, but my friends helped me keep myself together. Once I got to the actual chair however, my anxiety melted away. The Red Cross workers made me feel right at home; I hardly felt a thing and I was out before I knew it.” Excited about her first donation, Jules plans on coming back for the next Red Cross visit and strongly recommends that other, more apprehensive students give it a try.
Although it was set back a month, this semester’s Red Cross visit was a great success. Not only was the Mount able save lives by donating blood, but also raised awareness and spread the word about blood drives. Hopefully, the next time that campus is visited by the Red Cross there will be an even bigger turn out.