Corps of cadets blood drive

A nurse is drawing blood from a student volunteer at the fall Corps of Cadets blood drive, Sept. 13, 2019.  

The second Corps of Cadets blood drive of the year was held Friday, Sept. 13, and the crowds were shallower compared to past years.

“For the first two hours, we were very slow, where generally the first couple weeks of classes is the busiest drive in Southwest Virginia for the entire year,” said Douglas Rebul, Red Cross regional account manager.

This is the second out of four blood drives that the Corps of Cadets hosts. The next two drives will be held next semester.

The Corps of Cadets blood drives during this time of the year usually host around 150 blood donors; the majority of these donors are students.

Rebul blames the lack of blood donors on the last minute location change. The drive was originally supposed to take place in the Graduate Life Center, but the Graduate Life Center informed Rebul and his team that its air conditioner was broken. The team then had to scramble to find another location and eventually used Old Dominion Ballroom.

The change in location also meant a change in time for the drive. The Corps of Cadets blood drive was originally supposed to be held from noon to 6 p.m.; however, the only available reservation times for Old Dominion Ballroom that were similar to the original hours were from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“People are just getting situated in school right now,” said Nathan Gregory, a junior majoring in political science and blood drive volunteer. “They’re getting used to academics and that flow, and they don’t really have a lot of time for events like this, which is a shame, but they need a little more time to get well situated.”

The drive set a goal to obtain 120 units of donated blood. The team constructs their goal by averaging the amount of blood donated from the last three drives.

“I’m afraid for our patients’ and our returning veterans’ sake that we’re not going to get that 120 today, and that’s kind of scary,” said Rebul. “Our hospital and patients count on this drive and today’s numbers being as low as they are –– this is going to put a serious (handicap) in our inventory.”

Virginia Blood Services, which is a part of the American Red Cross, is the sole blood provider to the New River Valley. This includes the hospitals in the area. The blood collected at these drives lasts for approximately 42 days. Not reaching the blood drive goal could mean, in extreme cases, the canceling of surgeries. This also means that the team will have to raise their goal next blood drive.

“Blood transfusion saved my life back in 2009,” said blood donor Tyler Pakish, a sophomore majoring in national security and foreign affairs. “I suffered from a hemorrhage on my neck, bled out and expired. After I got blood transfusion, had they would have been two minutes later, I would have been just straight dead. I think it is my obligation now to make my life mean something and give back when I can because if I don't do that, what’s that say about me? It means I took an opportunity from someone else and something gave me everything back, so for me it’s about gratitude.”

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