Blood drive helps save lives, raise money

Sophomore and Pi Kappa Phi brother Thomas Rappa is prepped to donate blood during the annual Greek Week blood drive hosted in the Shalala Student Center Wednesday afternoon. Victoria McKaba // Assistant Photo Editor

Sororities and fraternities came together this week to see who could donate the most blood while also raising money for charity as a part of Greek Week.

The eight teams of Greek Week were given points for donating blood. They also received extra points for donating on a specific date, called “efficiency date,” along with early-bird bonus points for donating between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. For each member who donated, $6 was given to the United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) foundation of South Florida.

One Blood annually collaborates with the University of Miami for the drive, bringing nurses and administrators across Florida together. Alex Martinez, who works for One Blood, said the event helps to raise awareness of blood donations.

“It brings awareness … It saves lives. That’s the bottom line,” said Martinez, who has been helping with the event for more than 20 years.

The drive ran between 11 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. from Monday to Wednesday. A mobile was set up in the One Blood bus on the Rock and other stations were in the ballrooms of the third floor of the Shalala Student Center. The room was split into four sections for forms, testing, registration and blood collection. There was music as well as a movie on a big screen to distract and entertain people who were donating or waiting.

The drive wasn’t limited to Greek Life members. Freshman Scott Young, who is not involved in Greek Life, gave blood for the first time in his life after losing his father to cancer recently.

“I wanted to help people out who are sick,” Scott said. “Recently I lost my dad to cancer, so if I could help someone out, that would be really good.”

Donors were required to fill out a questionnaire and were given educational materials before donating. They had their blood pressure and temperature taken, and their blood was tested for iron levels. Once that was completed, donors were registered, processed and given a voucher for Bahamas Cruise Line.

The actual blood collection consisted of three sample tubes to test for sexually transmitted diseases, cholesterol and other blood-related diseases; three bags for red cells and platelets; and a main volunteer donor bag. The bags were filled with an anticoagulant drug to prevent the blood from clotting and the machines had timers on them to regulate the amount of blood donated.

The minimum amount of time for blood donation was five minutes and the maximum was 20, depending on the person. After donation, participants were bandaged, given Gatorade to replace electrolytes and offered a variety of snacks to prevent light-headedness and nausea.

All the donated blood will enter the blood bank and be sent to hospitals in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.

Greek Week Co-Chair Bryce Burton said Greek life’s relationship with One Blood has been strong for years because it helps everyone involved.

“We’re saving three lives per bag of blood so it’s kind of a double-whammy. We’re raising money for UCP and we’re helping people who need blood, too,” Burton said.

The amount of blood donated and money raised was not available at the time of publication.