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Blood drives at Rutgers give students the opportunity to save lives

When a Rutgers student donates a pint of blood, they can make a difference in the lives of up to three different patients living anywhere in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey or Pennsylvania. 

"You can donate blood at Rutgers and it can go to someone at Robert Wood Johnson or it could go to someone in Newark or it could go to someone in NYC. It goes out to whoever needs it," said Sharon Zetts-DeToro, manager of Collaborative Recruitment Programs at the New York Blood Center. "Blood is like medicine."

Two blood drives are being held on Oct. 12 and Oct. 27 at the Rutgers University Army ROTC building at 157 College Ave. A bus mobile will be set up between the the Army ROTC building and Brower Commons between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. The process of donating blood takes less than an hour.

Throughout the semester, there will be additional blood drives set up across all five campuses. 

"Only about 2 percent of the population who are eligible to donate actually does, so the more we let students know about the positive effect they have on the community by donating blood, the better," Zetts-DeToro said.

Blood is separated into three different components: plasma, platelets and red cells. Each component can help a different patient.  

Plasma can help burn victims who have lost fluid from their body, Zetts-DeToro said, while platelets are often given to cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. Red cells have a wide range of usage, from patients undergoing heart surgery to someone in the trauma unit who is bleeding out. 

The New York Blood Drive has a new, automated system to reduce the wait time. Donators can use a laptop to input answers rather than fill out paper forms. 

In the past, there was a 12-month deferral for students with tattoos, but the wait time has been eliminated for students who had their tattoos done in New Jersey, where regulations are more stringent. 

"Where else can you go for less than an hour and save three lives? It's such an impactful thing," Zetts-DeToro said. "There are so many different ways that blood can help people."

The dates and locations of the blood drives can be found below. 

The Daily Targum is co-sponsoring the blood drives on Oct. 12 and Oct. 27.

Avalon Zoppo is the managing editor of The Daily Targum. She is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science. Follow her on Twitter @AvalonZoppo for more stories.

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