Silas Scott/ The Mainstream

Blood drive successful

John Jachetta attends the American Red Cross blood drives in Roseburg, Oregon every couple of months whether it is UCC’s drive or the drive at the local Red Cross center.

“It is good for me to give my blood every couple of months because it renews my blood,” said Jachetta.

Bobbi Long, a phlebotomist who works for the Red Cross and has for years, offers confirmation of Jachetta’s perspective. She knows the benefits of blood donations, “For men, it reduces a chance of a heart attack by 80%,” she says.

This benefit is larger in men because men have a higher risk of circulatory viscosity problems than women. Viscosity is “a measurement of the thickness and stickiness of a patient’s blood,” according to Naturopathic Doctor News and Review.

Donors reduce their viscosity levels by giving blood regularly, thereby reducing the thickness and stickiness of the blood and the chance of a heart attack.

Regular blood draws also benefit women, but the benefit of avoiding cardiovascular disease is less.

Jachetta, like the other donors in Jacoby, follows the usual procedure. They make an appointment, arrive and wait their turn, then answer some questions for eligibility, which according to the Red Cross takes up the most appointment time.

Once all the technicalities are dealt with, the donor lies down on a high couch and allows the phlebotomist to insert a needle into one of the veins on either arm where the blood is then drawn. The whole process totals an hour on average, but the actual blood draw is only 15 minutes.

“It’s kind of like a civic duty,” Jachetta says.

Blood donors meet the dire need for more blood to be distributed around the U.S.

According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood and donating even once can potentially save three lives.

Each transfusion requires approximately three units of blood, and nearly 17,000 units of both platelets and plasma are needed every day in the U.S., according to the Red Cross.

How great is the need?

“Only three percent of eligible donors actually donate,” Long explains from a Red Cross statistic.

Adriun Lane, one of UCC’s regular blood drive phlebotomists, says, “In 15 years never have we been told to slow down.” Appointments or walk-ins are welcome at UCC’s drive.  Appointments can be made online at the American Red Cross.

The donations, including those collected from UCC, are distributed to hospitals around the U.S. and are used for various transfusions.

According to the American Red Cross, nearly 21 million blood transfusions are used each year in the U.S. in multiple ways ranging from emergency accidents to cancer patient transfusions.

The UCC blood drive has been hosted every year for over 15 years. The drive is now located in the Jacoby Center but originated in a mobile bus outside of the cafeteria.

The American Red Cross founded in 1881 by Clara Barton was created to assist the United States Army in medical situations but has since then expanded to helping citizens by collecting blood donations. The Red Cross, “provides more than 40% of the blood products” in the U. S.

The Red Cross offers a wide variety of blood draws including whole blood, platelet, plasma and Power Red donations.

Whole blood donations are the most “flexible type of donations,” and any blood type is accepted. The time needed for the donation is an hour on average.

Plasma donations are used “for emergency situations,” according to the Red Cross.  AB positive and AB negative are the ideal blood types, and that draw takes approximately an hour and 15 minutes. Plasma transfusions can be given to anyone no matter what blood type the patient has, says the Red Cross.

Platelet donations are most commonly used for cancer patients. This blood draw takes approximately two and a half to three hours. The donation is collected at Red Cross centers only and not at blood drives. The operation requires a machine. “In platelet donations, an apheresis machine collects your platelets along with some plasma, returning your red cells and most of the plasma back to you,” the Red Cross says.

Power Red donations take only red blood cells through an average hour and a half process. This requires an automated process that separates the red blood cells from the platelets and plasma, according to the Red Cross.

After any blood donation, the donor is invited to sit, relax, snack and drink extra water and share the deed of donating.

Additional information can be found at the American Red Cross website for blood donation opportunities. The website also contains information on how to host a blood drive and why it is important to their mission.

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