U. blood drive exceeds New Jersey Blood Services goal of 150 pints
The government shutdown has forced New Jersey Blood Services to cancel three blood drives, amounting to a shortage of more than 100 pints of blood.
But with the help of more than 200 Rutgers students and local community members, NJBS hosted a blood drive yesterday in the Busch Campus Center’s multipurpose room in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., donors filed in to help those in need. Their efforts were rewarded with free items and the potential to win a super prize.
Every participant received a donor tee shirt, a Daily Targum wall calendar, a $10 Houlihan’s Restaurant and Bar coupon and a wristband, said Sharon Zetts, a special events manager from NJBS.
Donors were also entered to win a pair of tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium next February.
Various greek organizations, the Childhood Leukemia Foundation at Rutgers University and many others helped sponsor the event, she said.
Zetts said Rutgers has been supporting this NJBS cause. Dorothy Kozlowski, the University chair for the Blood Donor committee, has helped facilitate the NJBS partnership with the University, a relationship that is over 30 years old, to save thousands of lives.
“Her time and effort has raised the quality and quantity of blood donation events on campus,” Zetts said.
Other University community members said they supported the Blood Drive for various reasons.
“My aunt was a breast cancer patient, so I’m here to help spread awareness,” said Alea Couch, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore. “Who isn’t excited for free stuff? You get all these small things for a big thing that you are doing.”
The Daily Targum helped inform people about the blood drive, while developing increased public relations with the Rutgers community, said Skylar Frederick, managing editor and acting editor-in-chief of the paper.
“I received a blood transfusion when I was 11, so I know firsthand how important these donations can be for blood recipients,” Fredrick said.
Shauna Lynch, a business development manager for NJBS, said they were thankful for the exposure that the Targum has given them, especially considering the government shutdown.
“With 209 registered donors, we have exceeded our original goal of 150 pints by an astounding margin,” Lynch said. “Events like this at schools and universities account for 20 percent of our donations and help us make up for the shortage that is contributed to the summer and holidays.”
People do not realize how important it is to continuously donate blood, Lynch said. Donations help victims of burns, car accidents, anemia and cancer. Each pint of blood contains platelets, red blood cells and plasma that can save three different lives.
The most desirable blood types are O-negative, O-positive, B-negative and A-negative.
When treating cancer patients, doctors use donations to replenish the damaged blood cells from leukemia and internal bleeding, she said. The platelets from donations yesterday can be sent to chemotherapy patients who are short on white blood cells.
Throughout the blood drive, staff helped donors, like Couch, overcome anxieties about giving blood.
“Initially, I was nervous about getting my finger pricked and possibly passing out, but before I knew it, I was being handed an apple juice and the process was over,” Couch said. “The guy in the blood drop costume also entertained me quite a bit.”
Donors can give blood once every 56 days, Lynch said. The public should be aware of the fact that there is always a need for blood. The events of September 11th in 2001 have shown the country how important it is to have a large amount of blood available before unexpected disasters occur.
The blood drive reminded Derek Lewis, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, how important helping others is.
“Sometimes we get so caught up in our own lives, but we have to make time in order to do what is necessary,” he said.
This event is one of 12 blood drives NJBS is holding at Rutgers in the fall, Lynch said. The next opportunity to donate is next Monday at the Army ROTC building on the College Ave campus.
“We will be giving out free shirts at this event as well,” Lynch said. “[We] hope to see many students there.”
Juan Carlos Cruz contributed to this article.