Every drop counts!

NICKI PADAR / AGGIE
NICKI PADAR / AGGIE

UC Davis wins Causeway Classic Blood Drive, students save lives

Congratulations Aggies! UC Davis has officially won the annual Causeway Classic Blood Drive. Organized by BloodSource, the three-day event allowed 1,031 UC Davis students to successfully donate blood in competition with California State University, Sacramento, giving thousands of patients a second chance at life.

Felicia Roper, a blood drive coordinator and account manager for BloodSource, believes the blood drive was both a friendly competition and a great cause to save lives.

“We are here five times a year and we invite everyone to come out every time they get a chance,” Roper said. “We’ve had a great turnout [this time]. It looks like […] there’s going to be a lot of lives that are saved.”

        High schools and colleges are often hot spots for blood drives. Roper explains how introducing young people to blood donation is a great way to help develop the lifelong practice of being a donor.

“One pint can actually save three lives [from] our high school population, we receive typically around 17 or 18,000 pints a year,” Roper said. “High schoolers love to donate blood. What we find is a lot of people who donate in high school carry [the practice] into college. And if they didn’t donate in high school it’s a perfect opportunity for new donors to get started.”

Annie Truong, a third-year statistics major,  is a part of Alpha Phi Omega, and was motivated to donate blood by the fraternity’s required hour of community service for the country at large.

“This is my first time giving blood, so I’m kind of scared,” Truong said.

Nonetheless, Truong stayed determined to swallow her fear and make a difference. Also there to donate blood was Jeanelle Smoot, a third-year chemistry major.

“I don’t know if I actually save lives but I’m sure it helps, so it’s a really nice feeling,” Smoot said.

On a similar note of optimism and helping others, Ryan Borden, a third-year biochemistry major, explained why he helps run the event as one of the student co-directors. Borden was highly involved with setting up and publicizing the event, and didn’t allow a rainy day to fade out the cause.  

“We did all the publicity A-boards, posters [but] on Monday it poured, so some of them faded. […] On Tuesday I went back and put another poster on top,” Borden said.

Borden enjoys the enthusiasm of the campus when the bloodmobiles come to the Quad.

“I really like the atmosphere of the blood drive,” Borden said. “I feel like there’s a lot of campus support. When I’m ‘flyer-ing’ for my other organizations a lot of people don’t take the fliers. But for the blood drive people [tend to say] ‘no’ and then they [say] ‘oh blood drive ok!’ I like that we can make such a big impact, because it is really important.”

In addition to the organizers and donors, nurses play a pivotal role in the blood drive by actually drawing the blood from the volunteers. Abie Lee, a nurse who works for BloodSource, helped make the event possible. Explaining why she chose this job, Lee shared her devotion towards supplying those in need with essential blood.

“Having the blood drive keeps hospitals with their blood supply,” Lee said. “If we don’t have many volunteers who donate blood then patients don’t have the blood to use for surgeries [or] transfusions.”

Though she doesn’t directly work with patients in a hospital, Lee finds it rewarding that the whole process of donating blood comes full circle.

“We have some people who work for [BloodSource] and also have jobs at the hospital, and every now and then they’ll send us a photo [of a surviving patient],” Lee said.

There are some misconceptions about blood drives surrounding proper preparation tactics to follow prior to donating. These misconceptions may unnecessarily lead to an unpleasant experience while donating, such as fainting and weakness.

“Come prepared,” Roper said. “If you are going to come donate blood, eat a good meal beforehand. People think ‘Oh I’m gonna give blood, I shouldn’t eat,’ because that’s what they do for a blood test.”

Roper believes in the importance of blood donation, and the very tangible impact it has on the lives of others.

“There is a need for blood donation,” Roper said. “A lot of people I know are scared of needles and it’s a really big thing that we hear, but it’s a small sacrifice to save a life.”

Written by: Sahiti Vemula — features@theaggie.org