As the number of COVID-19 cases rise in America, the amount of blood donations has decreased significantly. In an effort to get the number of blood donors to increase, as well as trying to figure out who has Coronavirus antibodies, the Vitalant Blood Donation Organization hosted a blood drive while also offering free COVID-19 antibody tests Aug. 28 in the West Plaza of the Student Union Building.
“Ever since COVID-19 cases increased, we’ve definitely been experiencing a lull in blood donations,” Donor Recruitment Supervisor Stephanie Pointer said. “We’ve had to cancel a lot of blood drives, and that has really hurt our blood income.”
The inclusion of a free COVID-19 antibody test was used as a way to draw people in, Pointer said.
“We are hoping that by telling our potential donors about all the safety precautions we’re taking on our bus with both staff and donors that it’ll make people feel safe enough to come,” she said. “I also feel that people are donating simply because they’re curious to see if they ever had Coronavirus at some point or not, and that’s really helping us.”
The extra measures the Vitalant Blood Donation Organization is taking to ensure everyone’s safety include the use of face masks and limiting the amount of people allowed in the bus at any given time, she said.
“We’re also making sure to take temperatures before anyone enters the bus, as well as sterilizing and thoroughly cleaning anything that anyone might have touched, whether it had actually been used or not,” she said.
The appointment sheet had been completely filled up. One donor said that she tries to donate blood as often as possible because she knows the need for blood is a strong one, Pointer said.
“I believe that blood is a huge necessity for many people with all different types of health issues,” sophomore phycology major from Royse City, Ashley Michael said. “My best friend’s blood doesn’t clot whenever she gets hurt, and whenever she needs to get blood drawn, the doctors often have to give her blood to replace whatever she lost that they don’t need.”
Michael said, she knows people with cancer also have a huge necessity for blood, and she wants to help out in any way she can.
“I’ve had a lot of family members go through the trials of cancer,” she said. “So, I’m very familiar with the hope’s cancer patients go through, and needing blood is one of those trials.” If we’re able to help, we should, and if that’s by giving blood, then I’m going to do it.”’
Michael said she would not hesitate to donate more blood if she found out her blood had COVID-19 antibodies.
“I really want to help in any way that I can, so if I end up having blood that can help make a cure for this virus, then I’m willing to give more,” she said.
Kayleigh Heath, transfer student majoring in elementary education from San Antonio, donated blood for the first time in an effort to contribute to the cause.
“I had always wanted to give blood,” Heath said. “I just never really had the opportunity to do it. So, when I saw the event pop up on the Red Raider Welcome website, I figured I’d give it a shot.”
Heath echoed Michael’s sentiments, agreeing that if she tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, Heath would help out any way she could.
“This virus is causing a lot of issues, and if I ended up having the antibodies, I would want to donate them,” she said. “I really just want to do the most I can.”
Pointer said her goal is to try and schedule more blood drives throughout the year, and she plans to continue figuring out ways to make the process as safe as possible.
“I just hope all of the planning and safety precautions show our donors just how much we care about them, and how much we need them,” she said. “We really need the blood, and so I just ask that as many people come out and give as much as they can when we are able to host the blood drives. We really just want to try and make a difference.”