‘If you’re healthy, why not give?’ Troy University and the Red Cross host blood drive

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2020

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A month ago, Madeline Paze’s best friend’s mother died in a car accident.

On Tuesday, Paze pushed aside worries associated with the coronavirus situation and rolled up her sleeve to donate blood at Troy University.

“My aunt is always trying to find things for us to do to help,” said Paze. “Since there is a blood shortage, it’s really important for me to be able to help out.”

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And she knows the need for blood donations is even more critical now, as health care workers battle the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and many everyday activities are put on hold. As of March 18, Red Cross Senior Account Manager of Biomedical Services Elizabeth Hutchison said that over 300 blood drives, accounting for 120,000 blood donations have been cancelled.

“Since they have a blood shortage they may not be able to help out with things like car accidents,” Paze said. “That kind of hits home for me because a month ago my best friend’s mom died in a car accident.”

That’s why when Troy University suspended on-campus classes through April 6 and the annual Greek Week activities were cancelled, organizers worked tirelessly to continue the blood drive.

“(The American) Red Cross asked us not cancel,” said Director of Student Involvement at Troy University Barbara Patterson. “We worked with the university and the City of Troy to make this a community-wide event.”

The drive, which began Tuesday, continues today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Trojan Center Ballroom on the Troy University campus. “We’ve had a good, steady turnout all day,” Patterson said. “We’ve been really pleased. We would love to have more come in, but all day it’s been a good mixture of people from the community, students and faculty and staff.”

Concerned about spreading the virus, many blood drives around the country have cancelled leading to a blood shortage. University organizers are taking plenty of precautions on Tuesday including taking everybody’s temperature before entering the room and screening donors.

That was reassuring to Jacob McComber, who also said he understands the immense need at this time.

“I decided to volunteer my blood because I know all the blood drives are shutting down,” McComber said. “Our country is in dire need for blood. I’m healthy; why not give?”

Both McComber and Paze have donated in the past and they urge others to take a few minutes to donate during the shortage.

“I did it in high school,” Paze said. “It’s just another way to help out. Anytime you give blood, it’s really safe and they are taking extra precautions. It’s a good way to help out and in the future it could help you as well.”

“Obviously we need to take precautions because of the coronavirus, but if you’re healthy why not give?” McComber said. “Our country really needs it right now. So if you’re healthy, why not?”

Donors can pre-register at https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/drive-results?zipSponsor=troyu to reserve a time.

Precautions are being made to keep everyone safe and healthy. They include:

• The Red Cross only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation – and who meet other eligibility requirements, available at RedCrossBlood.org.

• The Red Cross is now pre-screening all individuals by checking their temperature before they enter any Red Cross blood drive or donation center, including staff and volunteers.

• At each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees follow thorough safety protocols, including wearing gloves, routinely wiping down donor-touched areas, using sterile collection sets for every donation, and preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub.

• Additional spacing has been implemented within each blood drive set up to incorporate social distancing measures between donation beds and stations within the blood drive.