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Saving Lives, One Pint at a Time

(Posted April 27, 2013)

On April 11, Juniata students were given the opportunity to save a life by giving blood at Ellis Hall. Each pint of blood donated has the potential to save approximately three lives. Nick Deebel, who oversaw the donations, answers some questions about the blood drive.

Q: How many students from Juniata participated in last week's blood drive?

A: During last week's blood drive, we had approximately 70 students and faculty members take part. This included people who donated blood as well as volunteered at the event.

Q: Were these numbers higher or lower than the last time?

A: These numbers were lower compared to the numbers we see with the early spring semester blood drive. Because most of our donors are Juniata College students, we tend to see much greater participation in the beginning of the semester (the February blood drive) when people are not quite as busy. April is historically a low participation month which is reliably attributable to how crazy academics and other events can get around this time of the year.

Q: What is the difference between a regular donation and a double donation?

A: A double donation is more commonly called a double red blood cell donation. This donation method is very similar to a regular donation except there is one major difference. In a regular donation you give red blood cells as well as plasma (the fluid component of your blood). However, a double red blood cell donation takes two times the red blood cells to equal two units of blood, but you get the plasma back in your body. Therefore the main difference is that a double donation takes only your red blood cells but they take twice as much so you can save twice as many people. Many people claim that because you get the plasma back you do not feel as dehydrated and therefore don't feel as tired when you are done. It is a great alternative method to consider taking part in.

Q: Are there any other donation types besides those two? If so can you describe them?

A: Here at Juniata College we only sponsor regular donations and double red blood cell donations. However at other donations there are other types of donations that can be done. There are as follows:
1. Platelet donation: platelets are the component of your blood that help to form blood clots, a necessary function.
2. Plasma donation: this is a donation triggered toward recovering the fluid component of the blood

Q: Can anyone donate?

A: For the most part anybody can donate. There are several guidelines that have to be followed when determining eligibility. They factors are as follows: You must be 16 years of age with parental permission or be 17 years old. In addition a potential donor must weigh at least 110 pounds (male or female). There are additional criteria for certain circumstances. An example of this would be if you got a tattoo recently, you must wait a year to donate blood again. Additionally, if one has been out of the country, it is likely that person will not be able to donate for a period of time once returning depending on their travel destination location.

Q: Have you ever had anyone faint or have any other reaction to giving blood? If so what happened?

A: Personally, during my two and half years helping out with the blood drives, I have never witnessed anyone pass out. I have seen some people sit up from the table and feel lightheaded. This is why we have volunteers designated "walkers." They go over to the donor and help them walk to the refreshment table where they can re-nourish. Many times when people pass out or feel light headed, it is because they did not eat or drink enough prior to donating. If one is to donate, they should plan on eating and drinking an adequate amount prior to donating.

Q: How many blood drives does Juniata do a year?

A: Juniata College does four blood drives a year with two in each semester.

Josh Maier, '16, Juniata Online Journalist

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.