Give your time, give yourself, give life

Melissa Leach

These days, there isn’t much in the world that doesn’t have a substitute. You can substitute brown eyes for blue ones or chips for fries. If you’re really lucky, sometimes you may even get to substitute an easy professor for your hardest one.

In today’s high-tech hospitals, doctors have the capability to replace damaged hearts artificially as well as limbs, hormones and even the bones in your ear. Yet with all these medically marvelous substitutes it’s hard to imagine that the one thing people need most cannot be replaced with a substitute: blood.

Every two seconds, someone in America needs blood. Every day 38,000 donations are needed in the United States. However, studies show that of the 60 percent that are eligible to donate blood, only 5 percent actually choose to do so.

“We are the only source there is,” Professor Rose O’Driscoll from the College of Nursing said. “Basically anyone could be in need at any time: you, your family or friends. If we don’t donate, how do we expect that it will be there for us if we should need it?”

Along with other members of the undergraduate nursing senate, O’Driscoll will be organizing the first blood drive of the year on Sept. 23 in Dougherty Hall. The blood drive is a part of the Save-a-Life Tour, sponsored by the American Red Cross. The tour, which began in May, was developed to boost public awareness and to encourage Americans to become regular blood donors. The duration of the tour is scheduled to last six months as it travels across the country in pursuit of the goal to obtain 3 million blood donations.

“In the interest of national public health, we have developed this campaign to help increase the number and frequency of blood donors,” said Marsha J. Evans, president and CEO of American Red Cross. “We are confident that with local and national support, we can make a difference and help save the lives of friends, family, community members and Americans nationwide.” The the blood drive will also be benificial, as the region has just issued a blood emergency.

Research has shown that a one-time donation can help save three lives. This knowledge drives senior Communication major Cara Tarity to continue to donate regularly.

“Knowing that you are helping other people and making a significant difference in the lives of those who need it is a wonderful feeling; that is why I choose to give whenever I am able,” she said.

In addition to helping save a life, O’Driscoll feels that donating blood helps to fulfill the University’s mission of serving others. “It is one of the easiest, but most important things you can do for another person,” she said.

For Michelle Cacciola, a senior nursing major, giving blood is about remembering those who are less fortunate. “Everybody thinks that giving blood hurts, but it doesn’t,” she said. “You have to put yourself in the shoes of the person who is receiving the blood and think about all the pain and suffering they are going through – that is my motivation for taking the half hour out of my day to give blood.”

This year, part of the donating process has been made easier by the experts of

This is the first time the University has used the Web site, which is set up to help make the scheduling process more efficient.

It also gives possible donors the chance to learn more about giving blood and contact information if they have any questions concerning the donation process.

O’Driscoll believes that the site will “boost the percentage” of people who decide to donate.

The Web site offers three easy steps, potential donors can follow to sign up for a convenient time to donate. Once you have completed the necessary steps an e-mail is sent out to confirm the appointment and to notify the donor that if he or she wishes to change the appointment they can do so at any time.

If you are experiencing anxiety or are unsure about whether or not to give blood, O’Driscoll advises you to become more educated about the donation process. Most people are afraid, she said, because they don’t know what to expect. “Just try it,” O’Driscoll said. “I am a believer that the more you give, the more you get, and you will get so much from donating blood.” If you wish to learn more about giving blood or would like to sign up to donate, visit Roll-up your sleeves, give your time, give yourself and you can give the gift of life. Remember you are the only source.

Information in this article was provided by and