Students donate blood to American Red Cross to help with shortages

Steve Kline (left), phlebotomist for the American Red Cross in Springfield, prepares Tim Shelhamer, freshman environmental health major, to give blood.

Steve Kline (left), phlebotomist for the American Red Cross in Springfield, prepares Tim Shelhamer, freshman environmental health major, to give blood.

Scott Hasty

Billingsly Student Center saw red Oct. 19.

A blood drive, headed by the American Red Cross in Springfield, was to further the battle against blood stockpile shortages throughout the country.

“I feel good doing this kind of stuff,” said David Jackson, mobile unit assistant for the Red Cross. “I used to be in the service. Working around blood like I do doesn’t really bother me. I used to give blood myself, so it doesn’t bother me at all.”

Held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., several Missouri Southern students dropped by to give their gift to aid the Red Cross.

Each student present at the blood drive gave one pint of blood.

“500 mL of blood can save three people,” Jackson said. “The machine can break the blood into three different components – red cells, plasma and platelets. Every donation that we can use is great.”

“I’ve always wanted to give blood,” said Victoria Burleson, freshman undecided major, “because my parents would never let me do it in high school. The fact that I forgot my MSSU I.D. and that they were serving free pizza at the blood drive also kind of helped in my decision to give blood.”

Others, such as Heather Oberdick, sophomore German and English education major, had other reasons for donating.

“It was in the back of my mind,” Oberdick said. “That if I were in a car accident or something, and if I needed blood, I would want someone to donate for me. You can save three people’s lives just donating.”

Having to give it seems to be an experience for some students such as Burleson.

“I was kind of afraid of the needles and passing out,” Burleson said. “It was also kind of scary to think they might find something in my blood that would mean I had HIV or some other kind of disease in my blood.”

There are other benefits to giving blood than saving lives.

“I keep hearing about shortages when it comes to blood,” Amber Englebert, junior secondary English education major. “Whenever there is a big event like this, everybody goes out to help and donate whatever it is that they are given a chance to donate. There always seems to be a need for blood, and having a drive on campus is a great way to help because there are so many students willing and ready to give [blood].”

The blood drive was comprised of 10 volunteers who worked to screen, interview, extract blood, comfort and feed donators.

“Our ultimate goal of the blood drive was to have 45 units of blood,” Jackson said. “I like coming out here. I hope we can do a bunch more out of here, and we really appreciate everyone coming out and giving blood.”