Every pint matters

Category:  News
Thursday, February 14th, 2019 at 9:14 AM

1 in 7. That’s the number of people who enter a hospital and need blood. 

The Community Blood Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania and Western New York (CBB) serves 16 counties and 20 hospitals, including UPMC Hamot, Saint Vincent and Millcreek Community, along with six Stat Medevac bases. 

Edinboro recently hosted a blood drive to help with this demand, being held at the Frank G. Pogue Student Center on Feb. 7. However, the organization has noticed a decrease in overall participation from local college students. 

Jaclyn Seymour, community relations specialist for the CBB, shared that one donation can save up to three lives, and that they’re attempting to solve this problem through education on the importance and advantages of donating blood.

Common reasons for avoiding donation, according to Seymour, include a busy schedule and fear. She understands, but shared that the process usually takes 35 minutes, at most, with 7-10 minutes spent actually donating.

“We can get students through as quick as we possibly can,” said Seymour, adding that the environment is as “safe and comfortable as can be.” These efforts are aimed at making “it a little easier for students to come in.”

Seymour noticed other troubles within the previous year, such as a rough flu season and weather, which both may have led to donation drops.

“The issues we see in Northwestern Pennsylvania and Western New York are most definitely a national issue. We are seeing a decline in donors nationwide, which is [why it’s] even more important for people who are eligible, to come donate,” she said.

An underlying assumption is that there is someone else who can and will donate, yet that fails to suffice as there are “not a lot of somebody elses.” 

Rose Surma, a CBB phlebotomist, shared that five years ago involvement was much greater. She related the drop to worry, especially with the fear of needles. “It really isn’t so bad. It’s not so scary,” she said. 

Potential issues that can arise over this drop include shortages and complications with scheduling surgeries, according to Surma, who hopes that young people will learn the importance of donating blood and make it a group activity that can involve community service and be fun. 

All blood types are needed, combined with anyone who can donate.

“You’re saving your friends, family and neighbors right here,” said Seymour. “Every donation matters. Every pint matters.”

Anyone who participates is “winning every time [they] donate,” Seymour continued, but also gains access to a donor portal, a point store, merchandise such as shirts and socks, gift cards and a chance to learn their blood type. 

Students can also consider free food for that matter, as snacking and hydration are encouraged there.

Requirements include a weight of 110 pounds or more, being age 17 or older (16 requires a parental consent form), having no tattoos or piercings within the last 12 months, a photo ID and “feeling generally healthy,” said Seymour.

The next blood drive will take place on Thursday, March 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Pogue. 

Further information can be obtained through the CBB at fourhearts.org, or by calling 814-456-4206.

Amber Chisholm | eupnews.spectator@gmail.com

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