According to their website, the American Red Cross has been running blood drives across the country since 1940 and has become responsible for 40 percent of America’s blood supply.
Keene State College stepped up to do its part by hosting one such blood drive, which was held in the Mabel Brown Room on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. From 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., there was a tremendous turnout from students, staff and community members alike.
Joanna Oko, a senior at KSC, has donated at least ten times since she was 17.
“I haven’t donated in quite a while, though I usually donate as soon as I can,” Oko explained.
The process is a relatively quick one, and on Wednesday during the blood drive Oko was able to stop by and donate between classes. “I didn’t think I would have time. Turns out I had a few minutes and was able to just stop by and donate,” Oko said.
“The staff is always really nice,” Oko added of her experiences with donating blood.
Like Oko, Caroline Kuzma, also a senior at KSC, said she has been donating consistently over the last four years.
Kuzma joked about why she was donating blood.
“I might as well donate,” Kuzma said, “I wasn’t doing anything else.”
Kuzma, who is 21, said she had donated about eight times before the blood drive on Wednesday and has never had a bad experience. Kuzma considers donating blood to be a win-win situation.
“If you can help someone, why wouldn’t you? It only takes like half an hour,” Kuzma explained, “I’m not scared of needles, so I figured I might as well help someone. And it’s free. It costs me nothing to come here and help someone.”
For Kuzma, helping others is one perk. “You get free snacks,” Kuzma added, “If you’re a broke college student, you can always just donate blood and get free snacks.”
For those who donate, it’s a routine that tends to follow them through life.
Russ Cobb, a web administrator at KSC, started donating on a regular basis about seven years ago when he was 40.
Cobb said he felt somewhat obligated to donate blood.
“It’s the kind of thing you do when you’re a member of a community,” Cobb explained, “People need blood. That’s really about it.”
Cobb said that he enjoys donating blood and has also never had an issue with his experiences.
“Occasionally there’s a lengthy wait,” Cobb noted, “But other than that it’s a piece of cake.”
This is not the first KSC-hosted blood drive that Cobb has attended and he said he would be coming back.
“I like giving blood here at the college,” Cobb continued, “It’s really convenient and quick.”
Like Cobb, other blood-donating veterans attended, showing that students were not the only ones who stopped by the Mabel Brown Room last Wednesday for the blood drive.
Brett Thelen, a science director for the Harris Center for Conservation Education, works closely with KSC students in the environmental studies department.
Thelen said she was inspired by how many students she saw donating.
“They’re all taking time out of their days to help others out,” Thelen explained, “I think it’s a great thing to do if you’re able to do it.”
For Thelen, who has been donating blood for almost 20 years, it’s a donation she feels the need to make.
“It’s something I have that other people need,” Thelen explained.
Each year, more than 200,000 blood drives are held by the Red Cross, who states that one donation can potentially save up to three lives, according to the Red Cross website.
“If me or anyone I love ever needed [blood], I would hope that there are people who would donate for them,” Thelen said of why she donates, “I’m just paying it forward.”
Jill Giambruno can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org