“Be someone’s lifeline”: this phrase, the slogan of this semester’s blood drive, facilitated by The Blood Connection, is a concise description of the impact your donation can have on others. In fact, according to The Blood Connection’s website, you can save three lives by donating just one unit of blood.
Someone is in need of blood every two seconds, and 4.5 million Americans need a blood transfusion every year, according to thebloodconnection.org. And since blood cannot be artificially made, The Blood Connection relies completely on volunteer donors to provide for the community’s needs.
BJU will get the chance to help meet this continuous need when The Blood Connection comes the week of March 9-13 for a campuswide blood drive. The Blood Connection buses will be parked outside the Alumni Building every day during the blood drive from noon until 7 p.m.
Christy Wornom, Community Service Council member and student representative for this semester’s blood drive, said she’s excited for The Blood Connection to arrive on campus and encourages all students to donate.
“It’s impossible to emphasize how important and how high the need for blood is,” Wornom said. “There will never be enough.”
As an incentive to give blood, The Blood Connection is starting a new program that awards donors with points that can be redeemed for gift cards. Donating just once will give you enough points for a gift card to a variety of places such as Target, Amazon and Applebee’s. The Blood Connection staff will provide you with an online login and other necessary information to redeem your points. Donors will also receive a free T-shirt while supplies last.
Though there are incentives to give, Wornom said they are not the focus she wants donors to have.
“Even though there is a rewards program, we’re trying to bring the most publicity through the fact that this is an act of caring,” Wornom said. “Even though you do get incentives, it’s all about realizing that every two seconds someone needs blood, and your simple decision can save lives.”
Junior premed major Julie Vanderberg makes time in her busy schedule to donate blood every time The Blood Connection comes to campus. Vanderberg views donating blood as a simple way that she can help her community at her current stage in life.
“As a premed student, it’s a great outlet for me to start helping people before I have my degree,” Vanderberg said.
Wornom also said donating blood offers benefits to the donor as well as the receiver of the donation.
“Studies have shown that people who give blood have lower incidences of heart disease, especially women,” Wornom said. “[Donating] also reduces blood pressure.”
In preparation to donate, Wornom recommends eating a good meal before you go and trying to get in some leafy green vegetables to up your iron levels. Also, she advises drinking lots of water, as hydration will make the donation process go much faster.
Ultimately, Wornom believes donating to be a rewarding experience.
“There’s an invisible connection,” Wornom said. “Even though you’ll never know who received your blood, you know that you did save someone’s life.”
If you don’t think you will qualify to donate blood because you have been out of the country or other outstanding circumstances, Wornom advises you to visit the buses anyway, and a Blood Connection worker can tell you if you qualify.
Making an appointment to donate is not necessary, but if you want to avoid standing in line, you can make an appointment online ahead of time. Check your university email for the link.