Organize blood donor drive to save lives

Students often wonder what they can do to make a difference in the lives of others. One simple way to impact up to three people is by donating blood. Tallahassee offers many options for students looking to donate blood.

Marlinda Long, 19, a sophomore pharmacy student from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., talked about her experience donating blood. “I never realized how much of an impact I could have until I donated blood last semester through the pharmacy school,” Long said.

Each year, many student organizations right here on campus organize successful blood drives. Carol Daws, the communications director for the Southeastern Community Blood Center, said she believes students can make a major impact by donating blood.

“We love to have student groups host blood drives,” Daws said.

“The turnout depends on the group, but it’s usually very good, (especially) the school of pharmacy’s blood drives, (which are) usually very successful.”

Although the idea of donating blood may scare some people, it is a very safe process for the donator as well as the person receiving the blood.

Dr. Sharron Foster, a physician at FAMU’s health clinic, explained the safety precautions used when receiving donated blood.

“The blood goes through multiple processes to make sure that there is no disease transmission,” Foster said.

The process for receiving blood is safer now than in the ’80s when there were horror stories of patients receiving HIV-infected blood.

“Yes, blood centers are regulated by the FDA and all needles used in the process are disposable,” Daws said.

Even though donating blood may seem harmless, the idea alone keeps some students from donating.

“I’m scared of needles, and I don’t like pain,” said Brittany McNealey, 19, a sophomore business student from Milwaukee.

“Hopefully one day I can donate blood to help others and face my fears.”

There are a few guidelines that should be followed in order to ensure the process is successful. Donating blood includes a bit of paperwork and a mini-physical, which includes testing for iron. Eating and drinking plenty of water prior to giving blood is suggested. It is also recommended that people give blood with a friend so the process does not seem as intimidating.

Before giving blood do not consume large amounts of caffeine.

Those who’ve recently traveled outside the country, received a tattoo or have had a body piercing within the last year are discouraged from giving blood and should contact the blood center before hand.

Despite the regulations it is important that people donate blood, as there is always a need. The Southeastern Community Blood Center alone serves 26 counties. There is a particular need for blacks to donate blood.

“About 10 percent of blood donors are African American,” Daws said. “When we have blood from a certain race, we are able to do antigen matching, which helps the blood be used more efficiently.”

To find out more information about blood donation or to schedule a blood drive contact the Southeastern Community Blood Center at (850) 877-7181 or online at