BY KELLY DZIALO
County College of Morris students were given the opportunity to donate blood on campus as Phi Theta Kappa hosted semi-annual blood drives in conjunction with the Community Blood Council of New Jersey and CCM Health Services. This year’s blood drive took place Thursday, March 30.
“It’s the easiest possible donation that you can give that instantly can mean life to somebody,” said Daria Caldwell, a Donor Relations Representative for the Community Blood Council of New Jersey. “Each pint of blood that we draw can save up to three lives.”
The Community Blood Council of New Jersey has basic requirements for donating blood. A donor must weigh at least 120 pounds, have normal blood pressure and be between the ages of 16 and 75 years old. Each blood donation is approximately one pint of blood.
“We run these [blood drives] as a part of our service,” said Michelle Mardis, Phi Theta Kappa’s Vice President of Scholarship. “We want to give back to the community; that’s the main thing for us.”
The Community Blood Council of New Jersey is a unique organization, as blood donated through them remains in New Jersey hospitals, while other organizations often send blood all over the country.
According to Caldwell, people with an O negative blood type are considered universal donors, as every person can accept O negative blood in addition to their own blood type. Due to the versatility of O negative blood, donors are in high demand.
Billy Kohning, a business administration major at CCM, is one of those donors.
“This isn’t my first time [donating],” Kohning said. “I started in high school, and I did a blood test beforehand. They said I was O negative and some other thing that I don’t know yet; I’ve been looking. I know can give blood to unborn fetuses that need it.”
Kohning, fresh off the blood donation bus with blue gauze wrapped around his left arm, also mentioned a family friend has received blood transfusions through a bout with cancer.
“People need our blood, and it’s 30 minutes of your time to save someone’s life,” Kohning said. “It’s worth it.”
Fifty-six days are needed for recovery between each blood donation, while only 12 days are needed between each platelet donation.
Precautions are taken by the donation organizations to ensure donors eat properly before and after blood donation, as well as verifying any recent abroad trips.
“We are going to make sure you’re okay before we ever put a needle in you” Caldwell said. “Nobody should ever feel guilted into something like this.”
While a chance to donate blood is available to CCM students on campus twice a year, the Community Blood Council of New Jersey accepts donations Monday through Saturday every week at their center in Trenton.
“A lot of students don’t realize that giving just a little bit of blood can save three lives,” Mardis said. “They don’t realize that little contribution can make such a big difference.”