Blood Drive open due to blood shortage

Jaylen CarrSports Editor

With the help of some volunteers and staff, the American Red Cross came to the university to host a blood drive with hopes of helping with the blood shortage.  

 “Blood is still needed, and there is still a great demand for blood,” Ricardo Curry II, the account manager of the American Red Cross, said. “There is still a shortage in the state of Connecticut.  A lot of people don’t realize when you give blood; you’re actually helping to save people’s lives.” 

Curry said donating blood will even help keep someone alive. “People have leukemia, sickle cell, cancer, car crashes, and women are delivering babies, surgeries, so when a hospital has a need for blood, they put a request out to the general organizations like the American Red Cross.” 

The volunteers that help at the blood drives are retirees and sometimes students who help check people in at the sign-in tables, Curry said.  

“It’s not about me; it’s about blessing others,” Curry said. “It is about being part of an organization that helps those who need it, and blood is something that is constantly needed.” 

Pat Pattonelli, the collection team supervisor for 20 years, said the organization runs 12-18 blood drives in Connecticut daily.  

“Our job is to collect enough blood products for our hospital to provide for our patients,” Pattonelli said. “You can donate by calling the 1-800 Red Cross number; you can download the app and make an appointment that way.” 

The process starts with a “mini” physical, and then you get to donate 1 pint of blood, Pattonelli said.  

“When you donate a 1 pint of whole blood, we actually break that down into three separate products which all have retention periods and retention methods and destinations,” Pattonelli said. “When you donate 1 pint of blood, you actually help three different people.” 

Red blood cells are suitable for 42 days and, while refrigerated, it goes to trauma units and the emergency room, Pattonelli said.  

The entire process takes up to an hour, Pattonelli said.  The blood drive was inside Engleman Hall, Room B121, from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. on April 6.  

Curry said he had built relationships with the institutions in the New Haven region, which he covers. He goes to universities like Yale University and the University of New Haven.   

“Part of our job is to develop relationships with pillars in the communities, not only the hospitals but the actual educational compacity,” Curry said. “We have partnered with universities so that people can understand our mission.” 

Curry said schools are a great place to create a culture of showing the importance of giving blood. “The university has a greater outreach initiative, and we try to join with those initiatives to let people know what we do.” 

The American Red Cross not only does blood drives, but Curry also said they also host an event called ‘One Red Cross,’ which partners with schools and organizations to help with CPR training and AED. 

AED, or “automated external defibrillator, is used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest,” according to the American Red Cross website. 

Students came throughout the blood drive to donate blood by scheduling appointments through the Blood Donor app.   

Nursing major Sydney French, a senior, said, “I decided to come to the blood drive because I know how much we are in need of blood and how much just one person donating blood can help others.” 

It is crucial to come to a blood drive because there is a shortage, and many people need blood, French said.  

Gianna Mendes, a graduate student studying school counseling, said, “I know there’s still a blood shortage going on since COVID. I wanted to donate blood in my community, but I saw it was at Southern, and it is just too convenient to say no.” 

Mendes said that people should donate blood due to the shortage and expirations of blood.  

“I’ve had missed opportunity in the past four years,” Theater major Vanessa Flores, a senior, said. “This is my second time donating blood.” 

Flores said donating blood is important because not many people currently donate it.  

Curry said he emails students to help notify them about the blood drive details.  

“We actually capture blood here from students, and their willingness to donate is, of course, appreciated, and then its process,” Curry said.  Then it’s given back to the hospitals to support those suffering.” 

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