UMD Red Cross Club and Pre-Nursing Society work to help “Terps Save Lives”

By Angela Roberts

On Thursday, Dec. 7, the American Red Cross Club and the Pre-Nursing Society co-hosted a blood drive at the Stamp Student Union.

Throughout the afternoon, students and faculty were invited to donate. Both walk-ins and scheduled appointments were welcomed.

Freshman journalism major Jason Fontelieu stopped by the drive after his morning class.

“I’m not losing anything by coming here except for a little time out of my day,” he said.  “I might as well help because I can. A little bit of blood can go a long way.”

Volunteers could decide between two types of donations: whole blood or power red. Whole blood donations are the most common choice because they allow donors to give a pint of blood in a procedure that takes between eight and ten minutes. Power red donations take around 30 minutes longer.

These types of donations require the help of an apheresis machine to collect a volunteer’s red blood cells and return most of their plasma and platelets. As donors give two units of red cells, power red donations are especially vital to maintaining blood supply levels in hospitals.

The long process can take a toll on donors: sophomore mechanical engineering major Spencer Yaculak said boredom prompted her to quickly agree to be interviewed during her power red donation.

“I like it when people don’t die when they don’t have to,” she said. Yaculak said she chose power red over whole blood for this reason.

Sophomore nursing major Taryn Myrick, a member of the Pre-Nursing Society, appreciated each volunteer who took the time to donate.

“Since blood is so different, you have to have a certain blood type for each person. It helps out with everyone who comes in to donate,” she said.

For example, because Yaculak has type O negative blood, the “universal donor” blood type, her red cells are especially precious to blood banks. Myrick, also a universal donor, said she planned to take time away from registering volunteers to donate herself.

“I’m a nursing major, so I just want to help everyone as much as I can,” Myrick said.

The Red Cross permits volunteers to engage in whole blood donations every 56 days, according to their website. Sophomore mechanical engineering major Bryan Mark takes full advantage of his eligibility period.

“I donate blood every eight weeks just because I want to make a difference and help people,” he said while waiting to be processed in the system. “I know each donation saves three lives, so anything I can do to give back.”

The Pre-Nursing Society plans to host another blood drive next semester.



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