By Celeste Paulson and Amanda Castro-Crist
Coffee Memorial Blood Center will be taking blood donations at the Clock Tower on the Washington Street campus today until 3 p.m.
Eligible candidates for blood donation must be 17 years of age, in good health and a minimum of 115 pounds. Suzanne Talley, director of marketing and public relations at the blood bank said every eligible donor will receive a free t-shirt and a coupon for a free gallon of milk. They will also be entered into a drawing for a year’s supply of milk from Plains Dairy.
Talley said blood is more likely to be used during this time of year. Donors going out of town, additional people visiting town, inclement weather and kids being out of school are all things that can deplete the blood supply, she said. This makes it hard to provide blood to the 31 Texas and Oklahoma counties and the 29 medical facilities the blood bank serves, Talley said.
“Our blood supply gets in trouble [this time of year],” said Talley. “We struggle to maintain an adequate supply.”
Each of the blood types is needed, she said, but O+, the most widely transfused type, and O-, the universal donor type, are especially important. This is the third blood drive AC has hosted this year. Talley said over 100 people have donated blood during the drives.
Those considering donation should be aware that blood donation could cause light-headedness which can be avoided by drinking fluids and eating a low fat meal prior to the donation.
“The last time I donated blood I got sick afterward, but I was glad that this time I didn’t,” biology major Dakota Mitchell said.
After blood donation, the center’s website says to drink fluids, avoid alcohol for the rest of the day and to not take in any nicotine within 30 minutes after the donation process is complete.
The blood donation process on average will take up to an hour including paperwork, a mini physical and a questionnaire. The actual donation will take 5 to 20 minutes.
“The staff treated me the right way and it took about 30 minutes to an hour,” welding major Cameron Smith said.
Talley said donated blood cannot be used for the first 24 to 48 hours after it is donated. The wait could be the difference between life and death for someone who needs it. This is why it is so important to have adequate supplies of blood, she said.
“I gave to give someone another chance in life. I’ll do it again because I know someone will give me blood if I need it,” Smith said.
Donating blood can help up to two people each time.
“There are always benefits to donating,” Mitchell said. “I will definitely donate blood again. You get the chance to save someone’s life and there’s a rewarding feeling that comes with it. There’s not any money involved or anything like that which I think makes it a better experience, you help out of the goodness of your heart.”